First day of Summer and my thoughts turn to potato salad; summer and potato salad just seem to go together. There are as many versions of potato salad as there are families, friends and church suppers. I have met very few I didn’t like but I do have favorites.
Potatoes at the heart of it are a deep personal love for me. When I was kid, my next door neighbor planted a hill of potatoes every year specifically for me to dig. The joy she experienced watching me be that happy motivated her year after year. I certainly wasn’t going to protest. She was a wonderful woman. The thing with those freshly dug potatoes is, they are sweet. Their skins aren’t even set yet and the skin sort of shreds off a little when you are washing them. They smell like dirt - they are heavenly. My mom served them with peas in the Spring and later in potato salad. We will get to my mom’s potato salad another day, but these early fingerling potatoes have captured my attention and they really need to be the star of the show.
Place vinegar, shallots, mustard and salt in a bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
Add olive oil slowly, whisking to combine.
Grind in black pepper.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
Rinse the potatoes and scrub off any dirt clinging to skin.
Slice potatoes into thick rounds.
Boil potatoes until tender. Be sure to salt the water like you do for pasta or the potato salad will be flat.
Drain the potatoes and immediately add ½ the vinaigrette recipe above. It is important to dress the potatoes while they are warm so they soak up the flavors in the vinaigrette.
After tossing the potatoes with the vinaigrette, add the other prepared ingredients and toss again.
Taste and add more vinaigrette until everything is well coated. The potatoes will absorb some of the vinaigrette and you don’t want things to be dry.
Taste again and adjust the salt if necessary.