Thursday, September 08, 2011


I seem to be accumulating a lot of potato salad recipes for someone who hates potato salad—or at least claimed to until last year, when I realized it doesn’t necessarily have to be ice-cold and dripping with mayonnaise). Just when I think I’m all set with my two faves, along comes another good-looking recipe, like this one from The Kitchn, so alluring with its lemony greenness. I love potatoes with dill and parsley and shallots, I love lemon-olive oil dressings, and I love spinach, so it seemed like it couldn’t go wrong—and it didn’t, even though I tried my best to flub it by temporarily forgetting how many ounces are in two pounds and only putting in three-quarters of the amount of potatoes. Luckily, one of the main things I like about this recipe is how many greens are packed in here, yet they’re wilted by the heat of the potatoes so you still feel like you’re eating a potato dish, not a leafy salad with potatoes in it. Even A, not always a veggie fan, claimed to like my overly high ratio of spinach to potatoes and said he’d happily have it that way again.

Aside from that inadvertent change, I did make one important improvement to the recipe: adding Dijon mustard to the dressing. I think mustard and potatoes are BFFs, but even if you don’t care for the flavor of mustard that much, a dab of it in a salad dressing will work savory wonders without necessarily being identifiable as mustard. I always add it to my everyday lemon vinaigrette, and since the dressing here was basically the same thing, I thought it seemed a shame to leave it out. Mine was probably a pretty heaping spoonful, but I’ve added it to the recipe below as a more modest 1 teaspoon; use your judgment depending on your degree of mustard love. My one regret: Adding the 1 teaspoon of sugar that the original recipe called for. I was trying to play by the rules the first time around and trust that it added some important element, but I should have trusted my instincts—I enjoy my lemony tartness straight up, so I could taste the sweetness in the dressing and didn’t like it. I wouldn’t add the sugar in the future, and I’ve removed it from the recipe below.

Lemons and dill and new potatoes always remind me of spring, so that’s when I’d be most likely to crave this salad, but it was good in the summer too. Plus, since it can be served warm and the ingredients are things most people can get fresh year-round, it would be a lively way to brighten up your winter diet.

2 pounds extra-small Yukon Gold potatoes
1 large lemon, juiced and zested
⅓ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 ounces fresh baby spinach, well-washed
⅔ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, loosely packed
⅔ cup fresh dill fronds, loosely packed
3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat a large pot of water to boiling and salt the water generously. Add the potatoes and cook for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are quite tender and creamy. Drain, slice each potato in half, and place them in a large bowl.

2. In a measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, mustard, and olive oil. Whisk until well-combined; it will be thick and opaque yellow. Pour over the hot potatoes and stir gently until the potatoes are coated with dressing.

3. Slice the spinach leaves into thin ribbons. Mince the parsley leaves and the dill fronds as well. Add the spinach, parsley, dill, and shallots to the potatoes, and toss gently. The spinach and herbs will wilt as they are combined with the hot potatoes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Serves: 4–6
Time: 45 minutes
Leftover potential: Good.

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