I have to admit, as a big potato-aholic, I don't really love potato salad. It generally seems like some over cooked potatoes in mayonnaise. Nothing special. I don't even try to make my own because I had a ho hum attitude about it. That was until I read about Jane Snow's Potato Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing in her newsletter. If you don't subscribe to this newsletter, what the heck are you waiting for? Sign up now!
The recipe intrigued me so I decided to give it a try. Oh. My. God. This is the best potato salad ever! I didn't follow the recipe to the letter, mainly because I didn't have everything on hand. But I did a pretty damn yummy version of it, if I do say so myself.
Start out with a good firm potato. I used a type I had on hand called Klondike Rose. They are firm red skin potato with a golden interior. They are pretty excellent potatoes. The recipe calls for eight pounds of potatoes, but since there is only two of us, I decided to go a little smaller and made about five pounds. I should have made the full eight. I peeled them and cut them into bite size pieces. A little bigger than bite size actually. Then boiled them so that they were still firm but thoroughly cooked.
The dressing should go on the potatoes while they are still warm, but not hot. So after draining them, put them in a large bowl and make that dressing. You will need lots of fresh herbs! The recipe calls for sprig of rosemary, several sprigs of thyme, about six basil leaves, about five mint leaves and a small handful of chives. I used a sprig of rosemary, a few sprigs of thyme, some basil, mint and parsley.
In a food processor (or as I used, a mini chopper), place two cloves of garlic and your washed and stemmed herbs to the garlic and process until fine (I used a shallot instead, since I had them). Add one Tablespoon of lemon juice. Since I really love lemon in most anything, I used the juice of one whole lemon. It could end up being about a Tablespoon or more, depending on the size and juiciness of the lemon you're using.
Now the recipe calls for about a quarter of a cup of Parmesan cheese. I actually didn't use this and I had it on hand! I forgot to put it in. It also calls for a Tablespoon of pine nuts to be added to the food processor. I can't afford pine nuts ever, so I left this out. But I did add the 1/2 teaspoon of salt (grey, because I love it!) and the 1/2 cup of olive oil. This should be processed together until the mixture is pureed. Then add 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and process until mixed.
Pour over warm potatoes and gently fold.
Add 1/2 cup of chopped, toasted walnuts and mix well.
Chill for at least an hour before serving. It's insanely good! If there was one thing that could maybe improve on it, I'd say that one thing is bacon!
POTATO SALAD WITH LEMON-HERB DRESSING
• 8 medium potatoes (fist-sized)
• 1/2 cup chopped red onion
• 2 cloves garlic
• 6 fresh basil leaves
• 6 fresh rosemary needles
• Sprig of fresh thyme
• 4 or 5 large mint leaves
• Small handful of chives
• 2 1-inch cubes of fresh Parmesan cheese (or about 1/4 cup fresh grated)
• 1 tbsp.fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 tsp.salt
• 1/2 cup best-quality olive oil
• 1tbsp.pine nuts
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• Coarse sea salt to taste
• 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
Scrub potatoes and boil in water to cover until tender enough to pierce easily with a fork. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel, cut in halves and cut the halves into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place in a bowl with the red onion.
While potatoes cook, peel garlic and drop through the tube of a food processor while the motor is running. Add fresh herbs, then Parmesan and process until ingredients are minced fine. Add lemon juice, salt, olive oil and pine nuts and puree. Remove processor lid, add mayonnaise and process until mixed.Pour dressing over warm potato slices and gently fold. There will be too much dressing at first, but the potatoes will eventually absorb it. Season to taste with sea salt.
Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving. Stir in toasted walnut pieces just before serving. Serve chilled or at room temperature, garnished with snipped chives if desired. Makes 4 servings.