April 29, 2009

creamy mustard potato salad

Is there such a thing as a light potato salad? Probably not. Potato is one of the earth's heavier substances, and that's as it should be. But when the weather warms and you're baking pork chops and you want a little something on the side, but the thought of mayonnaise or sour cream is too daunting, may I present this solution: a potato salad that's creamy with mustard and bright with parsley.

The dressing is loosely borrowed from a bean salad in Simon Hopkinson's Week In, Week Out, a compilation of 52 of his weekly food columns for The Independent. I love the way Hopkinson writes and cooks. He's unapologetically irritable - sort of the Simon Cowell of UK food writers. But he's also generous, passionate, perfectionist, uncompromising; and his food is so good.

I haven't specified the amount of potato - the recipe makes plenty of dressing, more than I needed for the pound of potatoes I cooked, so there's room for maneuver.

Creamy Mustard Potato Salad

small waxy-skinned potatoes (I used red Yukons)

1 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
4 tbsp warm water
150 ml peanut oil
150ml extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
1 red onion, diced very fine
a handful of parsley

Peel the potatoes and place in a saucepan with plenty of water. Bring to the boil; add a dash of salt once boiling. From this point, cook the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.

While the potatoes are cooking, combine the mustard, red wine vinegar, garlic and warm water. Blend or whisk until smooth. Slowly add the oils and blend/whisk well until the dressing is creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fry the finely diced red onion in a little hot butter or oil for 3 or 4 minutes (if you like raw onion, feel free to omit this step).

Carefully cut the cooked potatoes into small chunks - whichever size you prefer, really. Toss with the dressing, the red onion, and a handful of parsley leaves, some chopped and some left whole. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.

This dressing is also delicious drizzled over barely-blanched green beans.

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