A delicious potato salad
I make this salad so often that it’s like second nature to me, and I never really think about what quantities of ingredients I use; I just keep adding bits of this or that until it tastes right. So although I’ve put measurements here, please take them with a grain of salt, and alter them to suit your taste – you can use all sorts of different herbs; red onions or chives instead of spring onions; add some capers or dill pickles; and vary the dressing to your heart’s content. The only thing I wouldn’t change is using waxy potatoes, as they not only look lovely with their pale golden flesh, but they also absorb the dressing without falling apart.
Although I’ve suggested using mayonnaise as well as salad dressing in the recipe, I quite often make a version that uses salad dressing only as it gives the salad a really clear, bright flavour. If you’d like to try this, increase the quantity of salad dressing by 1/3 cup (80ml).
1200g medium-sized waxy potatoes (e.g. Dutch cream, Nicola, bintje) peeled and sliced lengthwise into quarters (or sixths if you can only find large potatoes)
100ml salad dressing (recipe follows)
1/3 cup (100g) homemade or good-quality mayonnaise
Paler part of 2 – 3 spring onions, very finely sliced
1 – 2 good-sized stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 – 3 tablespoons finely shredded mint leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill, optional
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Small mint leaves, to garnish
Steam the potato for 20 – 25 minutes or until it’s just tender. Drain it thoroughly and return to the pan over low heat for a minute or so to evaporate any excess moisture. Carefully transfer it to a large bowl, then pour the salad dressing over the top. Using your hands (I slip on a pair of prep gloves for this as the potato is hot) gently turn the potato pieces in the dressing so they’re thoroughly coated, then set the bowl aside and leave the potato to cool, turning it occasionally. This step makes such a difference in creating a really good potato salad as the warm potato absorbs the dressing and gains so much flavour.
When the potato has just cooled to room temperature, spoon in the mayonnaise, and most of the spring onion and celery, reserving a little of each for garnishing. Again using your hands, gently but thoroughly mix everything together. At this stage you can cover the bowl and leave the salad at room temperature if you’re eating it fairly soon; if not, pop the bowl in the fridge, however return to salad to cool room temperature before serving.
When you’re ready to serve the salad, mix in the shredded mint, dill, if using, and salt then fish out a piece of potato and taste it to see if you need to add more of anything. Finally, scrape the salad into a serving bowl, and grind over some black pepper. Sprinkle with the reserved spring onion and celery, then scatter some mint leaves over the top.
MY SALAD DRESSING
I always try to keep a squeezy bottle of made-up salad dressing in the fridge so I don’t have to start from scratch every time I need a little. It’s awfully handy as it means you can just swizz a bit over a salad and it’s ready to go.
Please, please only use these quantities as a guide – each time I make it, I find it tastes different from the time before due to the oils and vinegars I use, and I’m forever tweaking the recipe. I also make a version of this without lemon juice, and increase the quantity of fig vinegar (which has a complex sweetness and depth to it), and this is great with robustly flavoured salads.
Makes approx. 1 ¼ cups (310ml)
1 cup (250 ml) #mixed olive oils
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, to taste
½ teaspoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
1 tablespoon fig or balsamic vinegar
# I use about 2/3 cup (160 ml )of extra virgin olive oil, and 1/3 cup (80 ml) regular olive oil, but I always taste the extra virgin oil first and adjust the ratio according to its flavour
Simply put all the salad dressing ingredients into a large squeeze bottle (or jar), seal it tightly and shake it like crazy to dissolve the sugar and salt. Taste it and adjust the flavours to suit you. Store the bottle in the fridge – it keeps well for up to 2 weeks.