One evening our older son, standing in for Mrs. Patmore, made a salad with newly arrived CSA potatoes. He used a Mark Bittman recipe from “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” – a potato salad not so much about mayonnaise. Bittman writes: “To me, the basic potato salad is made of just-boiled potatoes dressed in good mustard vinaigrette.”
This is Bittman’s mustard vinaigrette recipe (although you could surely use your favorite): in a blender combine half-cup of extra virgin olive oil, three tablespoons good wine vinegar, a teaspoon of good mustard, salt, and freshly ground black pepper – a “creamy emulsion will form within 30 seconds.” Taste, and add vinegar till the balance is right to you. Add a large shallot cut into chunks (optional) to the blender. Turn on and off till the shallot is minced. Adjust salt and pepper.
Bittman uses a pound and a half of pretty much any potato (from new red to russet baking potatoes) cut into bite size pieces. Put them in a pan with water to cover, bring to a boil and lower heat. Cook until tender but firm – not mushy. Drain, rinse, and drain again.
Add a quarter-cup of minced onion (scallion, red or yellow) and half-cup minced parsley to the potatoes. Combine the cooked potatoes with the vinaigrette – it’s important to do this while the potatoes are warm so the vinaigrette is absorbed. Ideally, Bittman says, serve at room temperature, but at Downtown Abbey it was still warm and so good.
I made this back home, and followed Bittman’s recommendation for when you are in a hurry: just whisk the vinaigrette together in a bowl and add the cooked potatoes. By mistake I left out the mustard (by reading the plain vinaigrette recipe) – never mind, still good and reason to make again and add mustard.
With new potatoes appearing soon, this is easy, delicious – and timely!