Summer Fingerling Potato Salad
First, just so my patriotism will not be questioned, I love traditional, all American, russet potato salad with mayonnaise style dressing.
I also enjoy the French style potato salad made with new potatoes, Dijon vinaigrette, shallots, olive oil tarragon and wine vinegar. About five years ago when fingerling potatoes hit the general marketplace their easy, quick-to-cook size and silky texture began to inspire lots of spontaneous potato salad recipes. Many of them are terrific.
Fingerlings come in several varieties including Purple Peruvian, Yukon Gold, Ruby Crescent, Russian Banana and French. Each has its own subtle but distinct taste that complements the light summer flavors of tender fresh greens, summer squashes, cucumbers, fennel, sweet onions, fresh garlic and young herbs. Their captivating, diminutive sizes also are convenient for cooks who would just as soon not peel, boil in oversize pots or wait for 30 to 40 minutes while they cool before daring to cut into bite size pieces.
- I buy fingerling potatoes in 2# batches, cook and refrigerate them so they are ready to use.
- A few pickled ingredients from the grocery condiment bar (diced pickled bell pepper, pitted Calamata olives, capers) on hand will add color and taste interest to spontaneous salads.
- This salad was part of a last minute, quick and easy summer dinner of grilled Italian sausage with fennel and sautéed kale. I happened to have perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes, a few sprigs of fresh asparagus and feta cheese on hand that added color and sharp flavor as well.
3-4 fingerling potatoes per serving, cooked and cooled
½ cup finely chopped summer onion (scallion, baby leek, young sweet yellow, red)
¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tbs. chopped pickled bell pepper in oil
16 small cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tbs. capers
3 tbs. crumbled Feta cheese
Juice of ½ fresh lemon
1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. dried tarragon or 2 tsp. minced fresh tarragon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
- Using a sharp knife dipped in water, slice the potatoes ¼” width and place in a medium size bowl. Add remaining ingredients except Feta cheese. Toss gently with tongs or a fork.
- Put all Vinaigrette ingredients in a small mixing bowl or 1 pint size glass measuring cup. Whisk until the vinaigrette is completely blended and emulsified. Taste. It should taste a little too acerbic. A little salt added should diminish the sharpness and obvious Dijon flavor. If you think a little more salt is needed, add it.
- Pour enough vinaigrette over the salad to cover but not douse it. Toss again. If you think a little more dressing is needed, add it. At this point the salad should rest about 10 minutes while the rest of the meal is ready and plated.
- Divide the salad into 4 servings, sprinkle feta over each one and serve.
- Any leftover salad, covered and refrigerated will be good for two days.