Whatever your plans for the 4th of July, whether it’s a barbecue at home or a picnic at the beach, you will almost certainly want to include that all-American favorite, potato salad. We have some variations on the traditional salad using some of the many delicious and interesting vegetables and herbs now available at the stand. These recipes don’t specify actual proportions. Make your salads according to your individual tastes, and have fun with it!
Fingerling Potato and Crystallinum Salad:
The edible ice plant called crystallinum gives a mild briny flavor and pleasant crunch to this salad. Use small fingerling potatoes – the bite-sized ones work particularly well in this recipe. Boil potatoes until tender and then plunge them into an ice bath. Drain, pat dry, and toss with a vinaigrette made of olive oil, Dijon or stone-ground mustard, and a little lemon juice. Roughly chop some red spring onions and purple bell peppers and add to potatoes. Remove stems from the buds and leaves of the crystallinum (discard stems): add to potatoes, throw in a handful of arugula, and toss well. Garnish with sage flowers.
Nicola Potato Salad with Bleu Cheese
Use the waxy Nicola potatoes – large ones – boil until tender, plunge into an ice bath, and cut into one-inch cubes. Pat dry and season with flaky sea salt and pepper. Put into bowl and add: purple haze carrots and cucumbers sliced into ribbons (a potato peeler works well for this), coarsely chopped red spring onion, coarsely chopped hardboiled pasture-raised egg, a small handful of oil-cured olives pitted and sliced in half, and crumbled bleu cheese of your choice (choose a creamy bleu cheese such as gorgonzola, since the cheese replaces the dressing in this dish). Drizzle with a little olive oil to meld the ingredients and a little lemon juice to brighten the flavors. Chow down!
Potato Salad with Purslane
Steam medium Yukon Gold potatoes until tender, and immediately cut or slice into chunks (don’t use the ice bath for this recipe). Toss potatoes while still warm with mustard vinaigrette (olive oil, a bit of red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, some minced shallots) so that they absorb the dressing. Toss with sliced spring onions and a good quantity of coarsely chopped purslane. You could add other chopped herbs and greens to taste, such as arugula, watercress, parsley, tarragon, etc. Throw in some capers and add an additional tablespoon or two of coarse mustard if the vinaigrette is not strongly mustardy. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with mustard sprouts and/or nasturtium flowers. This salad could be served either when the potatoes are still warm or after they have cooled. (An alternative to tossing the chopped purslane with the potatoes would be to serve the salad on a bed of purslane.)
Choosing the right potato for your salad:
While the flavors of the potatoes in all these salads are very similar, their texture does differ. Fingerling and Nicola potatoes are firm-fleshed, waxy potatoes that stay largely intact when tossed with a dressing. Yukon Gold potatoes are floury and tend to flake when cooked: they are good when you want the potato to absorb the dressing and enjoy your salad somewhat, well, mushy.