I've always thought potato salad was sort of frumpy, as most things smothered in mayonnaise are, and I never ate it as a child. Heck, I never ate it as an adult either, not until the last six months of my life. I'm not sure what it was about it that I disliked so much - was it the idea of cold, boiled potatoes which are utterly bland and boring? The heaping amount of thick mayonnaise slathered over the partially smashed bits of potato? The lack of flavor? I'm still undecided on that one, but I can tell you the the tables have turned on potato salad. A new era in potatoes! Ummm...right.
It occurred to me, as I was pondering the meaning of life, that my real issue is not with potato salad. My issues lies with the mayo. In my mind, mayo is categorized with vegetable shortening in the Mysterious Foods categories. It's the sort of the thing that has forever grossed me out, and I think I owe that icky feeling to a girl I went to elementary school with, Bonnie. Her mother used to pack her bologna sandwich with mayo for lunch and she'd always pick it apart and pull the slimy, white-goo coated slice of bologna out of the sandwich and wiggle it in front of her face. I'm pretty sure that's where it all started, my total loss of appetite.
And really, why would anyone want to have mayo on their sandwich when there is a smorgasbord of mustard to be had! The coarse grain! The dijon! The white-trash yellow! It's all so delicious and generally calorie-free (because we're all about calories counting over here, right?). I found this recipe in the latest issue of Bon Appetit where it was made with roasted fingerling potatoes but between you and me, the idea of fingerling potatoes is almost as unnerving as mayo-coated deli meat, I keep picturing actual fingers. Sorry.
At any rate, I lucked out because the grocery store didn't have fingerling potatoes and I used baby Yukon gold potatoes instead. The little blondies are creamy and packed with flavor not found in white potatoes and they hold their own against the tangy punch of the dressing. That's why I love this salad, the obviously missing mayo. It's a vinegar and coarse mustard mixture that not only works with the potatoes, it slaps them a high-five and they're best friends.
I served them alongside a roasted chicken and lemony broccoli for Justin where we both agreed the potatoes were delicious, but it was odd to be eating a warm potato salad. After some time in the fridge, he reported back : the salad is, in fact, much better cold. The original recipe also calls for two teaspoons of tarragon, and you can add it if you like, but I found the reviews advised against it.
Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard and Herbs
Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2006
2 tablespoons plus (extra for the dressing)
1 1/2 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon coarse-grained Dijon mustard
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
To make the hard boiled eggs, start with eggs that are more than a week old (fresh eggs are harder to peel). Place them in a single layer in the bottom of a saucepan; add cold water to cover by an inch. Bring the water to boil; remove the pan from the heat. Let stand covered for 11 minutes before draining and covering with ice water. Once they've cooled a bit, tap them gently on the countertop to crack the shells, then peel under running water to get rid of any shelly bits.
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Brush heavy large rimmed baking sheet with oil. Place potatoes and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper; toss. Roast for 20 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast another 30 minutes or until they are a deep golden color and crispy on all sides.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the green onions, parsley, vinegar, mustard, and a few good glugs of oil in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and toss with the dressing mixture. Serve hot, room temperature, or straight from the fridge.