Leek & Dijon Potato Salad

This is a tangy, crunchy salad that stands up to outdoor parties where a mayonnaise based dressing is risky.  I have not made it without the white wine but I imagine you can skip it and add a little more vinegar.  It is adapted from an original recipe by Jacques Pepin.

  •  2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
  • 1/3 plus 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium to large leek, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chopped Vidalia onion, rinsed and squeezed dry in a paper towel
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Boil the potatoes over high heat until just tender all the way through – do not overcook.  Drain until they are dry and warm enough to handle, then slice them about ¼ inch thick.

 While the potatoes are cooling make the dressing:

Heat the two Tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the leeks until they are soft but not brown.  Transfer them to a large bowl and add the onion, parsley, garlic, mustard, wine, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and the 1/3 cup of olive oil.  Slice the potatoes into the dressing and mix everything together gently.

Serve warm or at room temperature – it’s best the same day but you can make it ahead one day, put it in the fridge and then bring it to room temperature before serving.  Do not heat it in the microwave.

Rooney’s Potato and Egg Salad

 

This is an old-fashioned Iowa potato salad; I don’t know where my mother got the recipe but it was a staple every Memorial Day and 4th of July.  I never knew that most people do not put eggs in their potato salad until I left home and made this for my friends.  In my foolish youth I thought I would try to modernize my mother’s recipe by reducing the number of eggs, salt, and using Dijon mustard – I was always sorry I tinkered.  But it can bear a few substitutions – scallions or shallots are fine for the red onion and red or yellow pepper can stand in for the green (but the green has more bite and is really the best).  And only Hellman’s mayo will do!

  • 2 pounds small red or Yukon Gold potatoes (any waxy potato will do)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ½ diced green pepper
  • 6-8 hard-boiled eggs, diced (not too small)

Dressing

  • 1 ½ c. Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons plain yellow mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender with skins intact.  Cool until they are slightly warm or to room temperature.  Assemble the onion, green pepper and eggs in a large bowl and slice the potatoes into it.

When making the dressing, in a medium bowl, add the mustard and vinegar to the mayonnaise gradually until it has some zip but neither flavor dominates.  Then add the salt and adjust the flavors again.  Then add three quarters of the dressing to the potato mixture and check for texture and consistency – sometimes the potatoes absorb the dressing more than others, so you need take care not to overdress it.

Chill before serving.

Note:  It is best to make the salad on the same day that you have boiled the eggs and potatoes, but you can assemble it a day ahead and refrigerate overnight and it’s great.