I guess, if you’ve followed my posts for a while, this one might just raise an eyebrow or two. Potatoes really are a rare sight in my kitchen – and that’s exactly why I actually have quite the number of leftover-potato-recipes up my sleeves. You see, the fingerling/baby potatoes I always use, for Papas Arrugadas, Lemon-Confit Potatoes or the humble Potato & Herby Fromage Blanc dinner every once in a while, always come in 1kg packages. Since 1kg of potatoes is a lot for two people and the next potato-gig is at least a month or two away… Well, you get the picture.
Durning one Garden-Party-loaded summer many, many years ago, I discovered that the leftover Papas Arrugadas from one night made the best possible base for a potato salad for the following evening since they stop soaking up a good deal of whatever dressing you pour on them, courtesy of being boiled to creamy perfection in a 50-70% salt solution. They’ll wear the dressing as a multi-colored coat, but they won’t turn soggy or throw off the balance of the seasoning by sucking half of it down into some potatoey dimension of blandness. After playing around with various dressings and other ingredients to keep the spuds company in the bowl, I’ve settled on this combo – Hubby’s always happy to find this one in a lunchbox or next to a juicy steak for dinner~ So, here’s what you’ll need for a large centerpiece-bowl of potato salad – enough for 4-5 generous servings.
The Lemon, Potato & Avocado Salad
800g (waxy) Fingerling Potatoes
Lots of fine Sea Salt to turn the potatoes into Papas Arrugadas – clicky here to find my Papas Arrugadas & Blood Orange Mojo Recipe~
3 ripe Hass Avocados
2 Lemons, Juice and Zest
60ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar or Mild Cider Vinegar
1 heaped Tbsp Herbed Dijon Mustard
1 Tsp Honey
1 handful of Garden-, Purple Radish- or Water-Cress
1 Shallot, very finely chopped
A generous Dusting of Sea Salt and a your favorite punchy Steak Pepper Blend – alternatively freshly cracked Black Pepper and maybe a pinch of Cayenne
1) Set large pot onto high heat, add the potatoes and enough plain tap water to cover them.
2) Remove the potatoes – all except one, that is – again and, as the water is heating up, stir in your sea salt.
3) Keep at it until your test-potato starts to float and bob around the surface.
4) At that point, add another generous sprinkle of sea salt for good measure and have the guinea-spud joined by its mates.
5) Check if the lot is still swimming in the brine, then close the lid ¾ of the way.
6) Leave them to their own devices until the largest one passes the knife-slip-and-slide-test, then drain off the brine but do not rinse the potatoes~!
7) Spread them out on a cooling rack with a bit of space in between them – undisturbed by their neighbors that way they’ll develop their tell-tale delicious salt crust as they’re steaming off.
8) This is just the thing to do the evening before salad-time, by the way~
9) At least 2 hours before the salad is supposed to make an appearance on your table, take care of the avocados by first halving them, taking out the pit and carefully cutting a diamond pattern into the bright green fruit while it’s still in its skin.
10) A few drops of lemon juice on to will keep the avocado from turning brown until you’re ready to serve.
11) Use a very sharp knife to quarter or slice the potatoes, skins, salt crust and all, into ~½-1cm thick slices.
12) Place the disks in a large mixing bowl and, once you’re trough the batch of spuds, scoop the avocado cubes out of their skins into the bowl.
13) Pick up a second, smaller bowl and add the lemon juice, zest, vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, shallot, most of the cress (keep a handful for a decorative sprinkle on top), just a little bit of salt and lots of Steak Pepper or freshly cracked black pepper.
14) Have at the lot with a whisk until you’re looking at a smooth and silky, pepper-polka-dotted mustard vinaigrette.
15) Pick a potato and a bit of the dressing for the usual taste-adjust routine – make sure the potato disk in question has its skin on, otherwise your judgement on the salt levels might be off. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
16) Once you’re satisfied with the balance, drizzle the contents of your bowl with the dressing and very carefully fold them into each other until everything is nicely glossed over with the lemony mustard vinaigrette.
17) Cover the bowl with clingfilm and allow the salad to rest for at least 30 mins, preferably 2 hours or longer.
18) Once serving time draws closer, have another taste – the lemon might have developed into either direction – give it another round of seasoning if needed. I always find myself having to add more lemon to the deal at this point, but for some whacky reason adding more right from the start always ends badly…
19) Sprinkle the salad with the remaining cress leaves just before serving.