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Friday, May 31, 2013

French Potato Salad with Mustard and Fresh Herbs

It’s that time of year again. Bring on the picnics and BBQ’s. I’ve been living a bit of a double life these days. I spend my weekdays working near (very near, literally a few hundred feet) Denali National Park.  While I am here I have reverted to my single girl ways. Food is as simple as I can make it. Sometimes and avocado scooped out with tortilla chips is my lunch.  Evenings are all about checking out all the great hiking trails in the area followed by a beer and an appetizer at one of the local watering holes.
Weekends return me to my “regularly scheduled life”.  There’s dog walking and brushing followed by proper home cooked meals and dishwashing.  As funny as it sounds this schedule has brought a great deal of balance to my life. I have really missed getting outdoors and hiking. As much as I love cooking, it is definitely more of a creative pursuit, not a domestic one for me.  The recipe creation and the eating part are great, but the cleaning up part I'm not so fond of. So, I am always thankful when we get invited to a potluck. It means only one dish to make and most of the time far less dishes than a regular dinner.
When David mentioned that we had been invited to a BBQ this past weekend I asked what he thought I should make. He suggested potato salad.  I balked at the idea saying that certainly someone else would bring potato salad to a BBQ.  David insisted, his reasoning was that if I brought potato salad we would be certain there would be some.  Obviously, someone really wanted potato salad. For the last few years I have been making the same Lemony Potato Salad with chives. I really like the lightness of it, but I usually make my own mayonnaise with olive oil for that salad. Store bought mayonnaise makes potato salad too heavy in my opinion. Even though homemade mayonnaise is the easiest thing in the world to make, I was feeling exceptionally lazy last weekend. I wanted something similar to my old stand by, but without the mayonnaise. This one with mustard and Dijon mustard was a perfect fit. Oh, and David was right, nobody else brought potato salad and we would have gone without if I hadn't made this one.
French Potato Salad with Dijon Mustard and Fresh Herbs
adapted from The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

3 pounds small red potatoes
2 tablespoons table salt
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
Place potatoes and salt in a large saucepan; cover with water and bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer potatoes, uncovered, until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (approximate). Place potatoes in a large serving bowl.Whisk garlic, vinegar, mustard, oil, and pepper in small bowl until combined. Drizzle dressing evenly over warm potatoes; let stand 10 minutes. Add shallot and herbs to the bowl and mix gently with rubber spatula to combine. Serve at room temperature.


  1. So glad to see you back to posting, I've missed you! I'm completely with you on the cooking as a creative pursuit thing. What a drag that you have to clean up one mess before you can start all over again! I grew up calling this kind of mayo-less potato salad German potato salad. Sounds great.

  2. I too agree with you on the cooking as a creative pursuit not so much a domestic one. The potato salad looks wonderful. Your pictures are beautiful.

  3. What an amazing life you lead, hiking about the wilds of Alaska. I'm with you, I dig the creative part of cooking, certainly not the clean-up. Love the simplicity of this potato salad, it's gorgeous.


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