Saturday, June 27, 2009

French Potato Salad

If you are like my sister and hate potato (and pasta) salads with mayo, this could be the potato salad for you. It still may not be for you because tarragon has a strong flavor that's not for everyone. After a several year absence, I am growing tarragon again. In about a month, when it gets a little bigger, I'm looking forward to the "Why are you letting that weed grow?" question. Tarragon isn't a pretty plant. This recipe also calls for chervil. Chervil grows easily from seed. In the past, I never knew what to do with it, so I stopped growing it. If you grow chervil, go ahead and use the first herb mix. If you don't grow it, it's hard to find in supermarkets. Then use the second herb mixture. I never have shallots on hand. Shallots would be a better choice in this salad, but I used finely chopped yellow onion instead. I added the onion to the vinaigrette, thinking the hot potato water would soften its bite. It worked just fine. I sliced my potatoes with my mandolin (v-slicer). So for me, this is a pretty quick recipe. This is yet another recipe from Cook's Illustrated The Best Recipe.

French Potato Salad

2 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 T salt
1 med garlic clove, peeled and threaded on a skewer
1 1/2 T champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar (I actually used cider vinegar)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 T or onion. See intro)

1 T chervil
1 T parsley
1 T chives
1 T tarragon


1 1/2 T parsley
1 T chives
1 1/2 T tarragon

1. place the potatoes, 6 cups cold water, and the 2 T salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Lower the skewered garlic into the simmering water and partially blanch, about 45 seconds. Immediately run the garlic under cold tap water to stop the cooking; remove the garlic from the skewer and set aside. Simmer the potatoes, uncovered, until tender but still firm (a thin-bladed paring knife can be slipped into and out of the center of a potato slice with no resistance), about 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving 1/4 c cooking water. Arrange the hot potatoes close together in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
2. Press the garlic through a garlic press or mince by hand. Whisk the garlic, reserved potato cooking water, vinegar, mustard, oil, and pepper together in a small bowl until combined. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the warm potato slices; let stand 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, toss the shallot and herbs gently together in a small bowl. transfer the potatoes to a large serving bowl. Add the shallot-herb mixture and mix lightly with a rubber spatula to combine. Serve immediately if serving hot or chilled for a few hours and brought to room temperature.

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