A bright modern take on classic potato salad
There are two ways to say ‘potato’ but oh-so-many ways of making potato salad. There’s what I call ‘classic’ potato salad; the kind that shows up at family picnics and potlucks, laden with mayonnaise and not much else. It walks the edge of ‘food safety’ once left out on the picnic table for hours at a time so it’s always best to eat it right when it arrives. You might find the odd chunk of celery or carrot, though the only necessary additions (in my humble opinion) are boiled eggs and green onions. For those that eschew the classics in favour of a ‘safer’ salad, the neo classic vinegar based potato salad is a popular option. Fry up some bacon rashers, caramelize some onions and for the best flavour, let this salad sit in the dressing over night. It’s always better the next day.
Then, there are what I call the ‘odd ball’ potato salads. These are the kind that you don’t see that often at picnics, even though change is good (and most often welcome). We enjoyed a warm potato salad recently that was unlike any I had ever had. The tiny potatoes were roasted in the oven, then coated in mayo and cheese. It was not the sort of dish that I would make again, but it was comforting and tummy filling and I have to give our host points for trying something new. If you do a quick search for ‘potato salad’ on pinterest, it seems there’s always a new way to invent potato salad, whether it’s with warm spices from the Middle East, a bacon ranch loaded potato salad, or a dill pickle lover’s potato salad. As a fan of the tuberous starch, I’m game to try them all, but first I want to create my own version of the perfect potato salad.Once I received my bags of Earth Fresh fingerling potatoes (thanks Earth Fresh!), I thought about what would make my ultimate potato salad. I already had a batch of crème fraîche in the fridge so I knew I would be using it instead of mayonnaise or sour cream as a base for the dressing. Then I bought a bunch of fresh basil that I made into a pesto. The combination of the two, with some spring onions and slices of fresh green bean for colour was quite delicious. I learned a new trick too…if you boil the potatoes with a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar, the potatoes get a nice sour flavour that gives another layer of flavour the final salad.
Fingerling Potato Salad with Pesto Crème Fraîche
- 1 680 g (1.5lb) bag EarthFresh Fingerling Gourmet Potatoes
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper
- handful of fresh green beans
- 2 green onions; sliced diagonally
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Reggiano; finely shredded
- juice of one lemon
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic; roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche*
- Wash the potatoes and slice the larger ones lengthwise. Place in a medium sized pot, add apple cider vinegar, and water until the potatoes are covered. Salt the water and boil until the potatoes are slightly under fork tender. Cool until the potatoes are room temperature.
- Blanche the green beans in boiling water for two minutes. Remove and immediately plunge into ice cold water so they keep their vibrant green colour. Slice them into smaller sized pieces.
- Make the Pesto- Place pine nuts, fresh basil leaves, Parmesan, salt and pepper, lemon juice, and garlic into a small food processor. Pulse until ingredients begin to come together then drizzle in olive oil with the motor running. You will only need a heaping tablespoon of pesto for the salad, so scrape out the rest into a jar for later use.
- Place potatoes, green beans, and pesto in a large bowl. Cover and shake so that the pesto is evenly distributed around the potatoes. Add the crème fraîche and give it another good shake. Alternatively, you could just shake the potatoes with the pesto, then drizzle the crème fraîche over top.
- Plate the salad then scatter the green onions over top.
Like I said, there are so many ways to make a great potato salad. I’d love to hear your favourite way to enjoy this summer classic salad.