Potato salad wears many hats—or should I say dressings. There’s American potato salad, that we dress in mayo and serve cold at picnics and family gatherings. (My mother made a version of that using mayo, celery seed, sweet pickle and pickle juice.)
The Germans warm up their potato salad, ditch the mayo and go for a vinegar-oil based coating with bacon bits. The French include much the same ingredients, but add fresh herbs. The Greeks make a potato salad using olive oil, lemon juice and feta. I suspect other countries have their own ways of adding spice to spuds, too.
Hmm…Which Potato Salad to Make?
I honed in on the French version this week. Most of the celebrity food bloggers had their take on the warm, herb-laced dressing. Julia Child and Jacques Pepin included the French version in their book Cooking at Home. Ina Garten (“The Barefoot Contessa”) soaked the cooked potatoes in wine and chicken stock while Martha Stewart used fingerlings potatoes. Bon Appetit threw capers and chicken broth into the mix.
I went with Julia and Jacques version. A number of those commenting on the dish suggested decreasing the amount of olive oil and white wine called for in the recipe below. (I’ve indicated the amounts I used in parentheses.)
French Potato Salad
- 2 lbs. fingerling potatoes or other small waxy potatoes
- 1/2 cup or so extra-virgin olive oil, divided (I used less)
- 1/2 cup scallion, green and white parts, 1/4″ cut
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, mashed and coarsely chopped, about 1 1/2 tsps.
- 1/3 cup white wine (I used less, per reviewers’ suggestions)
- 1 1/2 Tbs. Dijon-style mustard
- 2 to 3 Tbs. chopped chives
- 2 Tbs. (or more) coarsely chopped fresh basil, tarragon, or parsley
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more if needed
- 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more if needed
- Scrub potatoes and place, whole, in saucepan with water to cover by 1/2 inch. Bring water to boil, reduce heat, and cook gently until potatoes can be pierced with a sharp knife. Drain and let cool slightly. Scrape skin from potatoes, if you want, or scrape off only a band of skin, about 1/2 inch thick.
- Heat 2 Tbs. of olive oil in small saute pan. Add scallions and onion, tossing to coat. Cook for about a minute over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for just a few moments before removing pan from heat.
- Slice potatoes while still warm, cutting crosswise into 1/2-inch sections. Put pieces into large mixing bowl and add wine and 3 or 4 tablespoons of olive oil. (Note: reviewers suggested using only 1-2 Tbs. olive oil. I used just 1 Tbs. and thought it was fine.) Add warm vegetables from the pan, mustard, chives, chopped herbs, salt, and pepper. Gently fold dressing into ingredients, mixing well, but not crushing potatoes, using only as much dressing as needed. Taste salad and add more seasonings, if desired.
- Serve salad warm, or refrigerate and return to room temp.