Last weekend was glorious. It was sunny and warm, and not just for a mere six hours at a time. We’re talking about day-long stretches of intense heat and sunshine, piercing blue skies dotted with cotton-candy clouds, and warm breezes filtering through the dense green foliage on the hills that rise up all around us.
It was prime alfresco dining weather, and I was determined to soak up as much of it as I could, with as many summertime eats as I could possibly jam into one meal. I’d come home from our CSA on Friday night with a bag of purple-skinned potatoes and a fragrant bouquet of herbs. You know where this is going, don’t you?
This potato salad recipe comes from Alice Waters, the veritable queen of “keep it simple.” Boy, she was really onto something, wasn’t she? She was light-years ahead of us. And she somehow seems to know that a good potato salad, made with just-dug potatoes and a fantastic olive oil, doesn’t need to be encroached upon by that hated condiment, mayonnaise. It’s light, yet filling, and you can serve it warm or cool. It’ll even keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, so you can tote it out to the old swimming hole the day after you make it, and sit, cross-legged and breathless, on a worn woolen blanket spread out in the grass, eating in straight out of the container in embarrassingly big forkfuls, your hair dripping warm rivulets of lake water down your back.
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Herby Potato Salad
Adapted from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food
1 1/2 lbs. waxy potatoes, peeled or unpeeled (I like the skins)
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
1 tbs. wine, cider, or rice vinegar (or a mix of the three)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 red onion, cut into small dice
2 scallions, sliced thinly
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs. rinsed and chopped capers
1 tbs. chopped chives
1 tbs. chopped parsley
1 tbs. chopped tarragon
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, then drain, cool, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Mix together the wine, and some salt and pepper. Pour over the potatoes, stir gently, and let sit for 7 minutes or so, to let the potatoes absorb the vinegar. Add the onion, scallion, oil, capers, and herbs and mix carefully. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as necessary.