Sunday, August 29, 2010

Recipe: Nicoise-style Potato Salad

You hear it everywhere: Fresh. Local. Sustainable.

These three words are said so often together that it's almost a cliche. I mean, who wants to eat something described as rotten, shipped 5,000 miles and planet-killing? However, for this recipe "fresh. local. sustainable" actually is rather fitting.

Now, I've seen enough Masterchef to know that you don't call an interpretation of a classic dish by it's name, especially if you leave out ingredients. Hence the name: Nicoise-style Potato Salad. I don't like hardboiled eggs and we were out of capers and anchovies. Oh, and I replaced the tuna with a more sustainable Maine-caught smoked mackerel (which you should really try if you haven't already, by the way.). Because lettuce is not in season right now, that went too. And, finally, I mixed it all together instead of making it a composed salad. Whoops.

This isn't really a recipe as you can ultimately add or subtract whatever you have on hand or like/dislike, put more or less dressing, etc.

Ingredients (Serves 4 hungry adults for dinner)

5-7 new potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2-3/4 lb green beans
handful of olives (I used nicoise & kalamata)
1/2 lb black-eyed or other field peas (untraditional optional), cooked
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c chopped mixed herbs (I did a 50/50 mix of french thyme and greek mountain oregano from my garden, but chives or parsley would also be nice)

For the vinaigrette:
1/4 c red wine vinegar (I think a 50/50 split of oil & vinegar is nice here to brighten up the potatoes)
1/4 c good quality olive oil (Like, nicer than the stuff you cook with. It's important here)
1/2-1 red onion, sliced thin
1 tsp dijon mustard
Salt & pepper

1. Toss all the ingredients together for the vinaigrette. Let sit for as long as possible, ideally at least 1 hour until the onions are softened.

2. Place cut potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with water and add salt. Bring to a boil & cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife (mine took about 5 minutes).

3. Add green beans to the pot and cook until tender-crisp (mine took about 2-3 minutes)

4. Drain potatoes and beans. Quickly add tomatoes, herbs and peas and then toss with vinaigrette. Serve with smoked mackerel and crusty bread, if desired.


  1. I wanted to tell you that I made this last weekend, almost exactly as you specified (I did add the hard-boiled eggs, as I love them). It was really delicious and will be my staple recipe for this type of salad going forward! Plus it was a great way to use some different herbs from my garden. A keeper for sure!