Friday, August 14, 2009

French Potato Salad

Let's get this straight from the start.

Potato salad is NOT meant to be served warm. Potato salad is NOT meant to be served hot. Proper potato salad, correct potato salad, GOOD potato salad is served cold, swimming in some unidentifiable sour cream and mayonnaise bath.

Do I make myself clear?

Yes Crabby.




Hot potato salad is an abomination. It adds heat to a picnic that's already taking place on a hot summer's day. We already have a word for warm potato salad, it's potatoes! Potato salad is meant to be a cool side dish, lovingly swaddled in a high-fat bath of milk and egg products that are designed to cause salmonella if they are not properly handled. Don't you people have any sense of tradition?

I researched hot potato salads before writing this post. The main culprits are the Germans, the Italians and the Japanese. Is warm potato salad some form of lingering WWII culinary warfare? Is it just a type of Axis Agita, meant to upset purists and crabs alike?

I understand that some of you want lower fat alternatives (God how I hate that phrase), but Crabby has a hard time rolling that way, so I turned to SSSal for help. French Potato Salad is a pleasant alternative to the mayonnaise bombs you find in supermarkets. Technically it's supposed to be served slightly warm. But I solve that problem by showing up a little late for dinner and the temperature falls to an agreeable "cool". So, please enjoy...

French Potato Salad
by SSSal from multiple sources

2 pounds, small red (new) potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled (you can use larger potatoes, but cut to 2 inch chunks).

1 1/2 TBSP salt
1 clove garlic, peeled & threaded on a skewer
2 TBSP white wine or champagne vinegar
2 TBSP Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 shallot, minced
4 TBSP mixed fresh herbs such as:

1 TBSP minced parsley
1 TBSP minced chives
1 TBSP tarragon
1 TBSP marjoram, or chervil, or anything else fresh in the garden (except rosemary)

Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. While the potatoes are simmering, lower the skewer of garlic into the water for about 1 minute. Run the garlic under cold water to stop the cooking and mince it. (This may seem like an unnecessary step, but it really does soften the garlic flavor and is worth the small effort.)

Reserve 1/4 cup of the potato cooking liquid. Drain the potatoes and arrange in a flat tray or bowl.

Whisk the garlic, 1/4 cup of the potato cooking liquid, vinegar, mustard, oil and pepper together to make the dressing.

Drizzle the dressing evenly over the warm potatoes and allow the potatoes to sit for 10 minutes.

Toss the herbs and shallots together in a small bowl. Add to the potatoes and toss gently to distribute.

Serve immediately.

OK not a bad compromise and no mayonnaise in sight.

Until next time crablings, remember you can do it, you can cook. Oh reservoirs! (that's French for see ya later).

1 comment:

WineWizardBob said...

If you are serving this potato salad as the main course, any and all of your favorite white wines from Alsace. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, they all work wonderfully well. Producers to look for are Trimbach, Zind-Humbrecht and the budget conscious Willm.

As a side dish, this dish is just about wine neutral so match the main course to the wine.

And the only good warm potato salad is the one with bacon, and bacon dripping vinagrette as the mayo. Ahh, I can already hear my arteries clogging.