This past Sunday a group of us, all family members, drove up a mountain and through the woods to visit my niece at Candlewood Lake and for the first time, to see her new baby girl. The young couple’s house is right on the water, so they have a spectacular view of the lake and the green hills that surround it on every side – a Connecticut version of Lake Como.
While we were enjoying the view and cooing over the baby, we were snacking on a lovely buffet. My daughter Stephanie brought divine cold cuts from Caputo’s,a famous Italian store in Brooklyn, as well as a plate of her famous blonde brownies.I brought potato salad and a peach cobbler. My niece hates mayonnaise, so I tried to make my mother’s German potato salad, but couldn’t find the recipe, so I made this version from memory.
This is why it would be nice if we could have just one phone call a year to Heaven. Then we could ask about recipes, where the good silver was, and who Uncle Jim married after he deserted his first wife. Well I digress. The guests gobbled up this potato salad, so I thought I would share the recipe with all of you.
3 lbs of firm white potatoes ( all potatoes work in this recipe – red or white, or new skin
1 bunch of fresh Basil, sliced into ribbons
1 bunch of fresh Dill, sliced into ribbons or 1 Tbsp of dried Dill
6 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice (3 medium lemons)
2 Tbsp of wine vinegar
1 Tbsp of lemon zest
1 cup of olive oil (I don’t use extra virgin, but use what you love) (I love Filippo Berio)
1 Tbsp of Dijon mustard
1 Tsp or more of Seasoned Pepper
1 Tsp of paprika
1 Tsp of Celery Salt
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 medium onion diced fine
Get out a large stock pot and fill with cold water.Peel the 3 lbs of potatoes (pretend you are practicing to join the Army). Cut the potatoes in half and then in quarters. Place the potatoes in the pot of cold water. Salt the water. Turn the heat to high and bring the potatoes to a boil. (Takes about 10 minutes). Turn the heat down to medium, cover the pot, and slow boil for another ten minutes, or until the potatoes are tender but still firm enough to keep their shape when cut into cubes. Turn off the heat, and remove the pot from the stove to the counter next to the sink.
Place a big colander in the sink and pour the potatoes into the colander. Then return the now well drained potatoes back into the pot and cover it. Let the potatoes sit for a few minutes to dry and firm up. (10 minutes or so.)
While potatoes are drying and cooling, make the vinaigrette.
Zest the lemons and set aside the zest.Get out a small steel strainer and place it over a small bowl. Cut all the lemons in half and then using a reamer, squeeze out the lemon juice from each half into the strainer. The strainer will keep out the pulp and the pits from the juice in the bowl. Set juice aside.
Peel the onion and dice it fine. Take a handful of basil leaves and slice them into ribbons. Do the same for the dill, if using fresh dill.
Assemble the vinaigrette by placing the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, diced onion, Dijon mujstard, basil, dill, salt and pepper, other spices, and wine vinegar into a bowl. Whisk together until well emulsified and slightly thickened.
Cut up the now coolish potatoes into large dice (or what ever size you think looks pretty) and place the cut up potatoes in a large bowl in layers.
Using only 1/2 of the vinaigrette, (the other half will be saved for serving time),pour some vinaigrette over each layer, lightly salt and pepper each layer, and toss each layer with the vinaigrette before adding the next layer, until all the potatoes and vinaigrette are used up. Well that’s how I do it, but if you prefer to just toss half the vinaigrette over all the potatoes and then toss them around, who am I to judge.
Should the salad need more dressing, the other half of the vinaigrette can be kept in a jar in the fridge.It’s always good to have extra vinaigrette on hand when you serve the potato salad just because potatoes are notorious for absorbing the vinaigrette dressing and needing more.
Hope everyone will love this potato salad as much as my family did and as much as I did. I shamelessly ate it with a spoon right out of the bowl. Yummy. I need to make it again so I can take a picture of the finished product sitting on a plate, which I forgot to do.