Thursday, September 16, 2010

French...German...Just a Potato Salad

We saw some lovely fingerling potatoes at the farmers' market a few weeks ago and decided to make potato salad.  La Ratte, they were called.  Rat potatoes. Anyway, Kevin's not really into mayonnaise-based potato salads, so I decided to go with a more "French" version.  However, I also looked into the "German" version because of one thing and one thing only: bacon.  In the end, I used a mostly French recipe and added bacon, for an international love child potato salad.

Recipe adapted from Jacques Pepin.

  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped (you may omit if you want this to be vegetarian)
  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes or other small waxy potatoes
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup 1/4-inch slices of scallion, green and white parts
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (I used shallots because I don't like having half onions lying around rotting in my fridge)
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed and coarsely chopped (1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/3 cup white wine (I used a combo of white wine and champagne vinegar because I really wanted to buy and use champagne vinegar, for no particularly good reason except that it's fun to have champagne vinegar, regardless of the tenuous relationship it actually has to champagne)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard (in my single-minded mission to buy champagne vinegar, I completely forgot that we were out of Dijon mustard, so I used the whole grain mustard we had at home instead)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons or more coarsely chopped fresh green or purple basil, fresh tarragon, or parsley (did not do this)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (coarse), plus more if needed
    For serving and garnishing (I did not take advantage of any of these):
    • Large radicchio leaves, about 6, from the outside of the head
    • 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
    • Chopped fresh parsley

      Place the potatoes in a pot and fill with water to cover potatoes by about 1/2 inch.  Cover and bring to boil.  After water boils, lower heat and cook for about 10 minutes, and then start checking for doneness by piercing potato with a paring knife and making sure it goes easily through.  I cooked mine for about 15 minutes after bringing to a boil and it was too long--the potatoes were a bit overcooked.  Basically: don't follow my advice on this one, find your own method which will surely work better than what I did.  Drain the potatoes after they are cooked.

      While the potatoes are cooking (or overcooking, in my case), prep the other ingredients.  For the dressing, whisk together 3 to 4 TBS of olive oil (I misread the recipe and put in WAY too much olive oil so in this pic you will see a shitload of it), mustard, vinegar, white wine, and salt/pepper.

      Place the chopped bacon in a skillet and turn heat on to moderate/medium.  Stir occasionally, until bacon is cooked to your liking. Remove from pan.

      Dig in with fork, or just tip plate towards mouth and slide those suckers in. Ta-da!

      No just kidding, there's other stuff to do.  Chop your onion (or shallots), green onion, and mince ze garleeque.

      In a few TBS of heated olive oil, saute the onion/shallots and green onions for about a minute, and then add in the garlic and continue to cook for "a few moments", as stated by the recipe. Whatever that means.  I cooked it for about 30 seconds after the garlic was in.

      When potatoes are just cool enough to handle (you want them to be very warm), slice into 1/2" rounds.  a lot of the skin started falling away at this point, and I picked them out.  I'm not sure if it's because we stored the potatoes for 2 weeks before making this recipe, but the skins were quite bitter so I tried to remove as much as I could.  Main flaw of this recipe.

      While the potatoes are still warm, pour on the oil/wine/vinegar/mustard dressing and toss gently but well.  The potatoes are soaking in all that goodness.  Add in cooked onion/shallot mixture and bacon, if using, and toss.  Sprinkle with chives.



      1. Love potato salad! It's always a favorite side dish. And I agree with you - more of a fan of shallots than onion (in general) esp since it's a cuter, smaller package.

      2. Potatoes are my favorite.... mmmmm

      3. I'm like Kevin, not a fan of the mayo-based potato salads. But this looks much better! And, do you like champagne vinegar just because it sounds way better than regular vinegar?

      4. I'm kinda drawn to the use of whole grain instead of dijon mustard... and the bacon! mmm mmm bacon! you had me at bacon!

      5. I love potato salad too, especially with fingerling potatoes fresh from the farmer's market! We bought a bunch of these beauties in a variety of different colors (red, purple, yellow), it made for a gorgeous potato salad. We aren't too big on the mayonnaise-y potato salads either, so we typically will just do some sour cream, garlic and dill, or if we're really being wild; butter, garlic and dill. YUM! Here is how our most recent potato salad turned out (isn't it pretty)?

      6. bwb: i know, cute little shallots.

        mintedlife: champagne just sounds way fancier, doesn't it? i saw various recipes calling for white wine vinegar and champagne vinegar, so i went for champagne! doubt it makes a big difference, though.

        maylove: just checked out your salad and it looks amazing!

      7. OHHHH yes. Potatoes are my favorite thing ever!!!

      8. mmmmm...i love potato salad, with or without mayo!