Lunch: Provencal Potato Salad

I like to call this The Pantry Cleaner. Basically, take all of your things in your pantry and just dump them in here. Not really. But basically.

Provencal Potato Salad

Provencal Potato Salad

Usually I can’t stand recipes that call for so many ingredients. And you still have to make the base of this recipe, which can be found HERE. But, Ina Garten again works her magic, and everyone that I had try this at the office agreed its pretty flippin’ amazing and totally worth the slaving in the kitchen.

OK, maybe you’re not really slaving… Just opening up a few jars, mincing a few things, and peeling some eggs. If you’re a fan of nicoise salads like I am, your mouth will thank me. Thankfully this does make a pretty hefty batch, so get ready to eat a few bowls of this or feed a small army of friends. Since this is a pretty complete meal, you’ll have a great lunch for the week!

Here we go!

½ lb haricots verts (fresh green beans, to you and me)
1 recipe French Potato Salad
1 can of tuna fish, drained
½ cup capers, drained
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, minced
½ cup pitted olives, chopped
6 hard-cooked eggs, quartered

1. Get a giant ass mixing bowl with your French Potato Salad in it.

2. Get a pot of water to a rolling boil. Drop in your haricots verts and cook for about 3-5 minutes. You want to keep them fairly crisp, instead of too mushy. Drain and give them a chop in half.

3. Add the haricots verts, tuna fish, capers, cherry tomatoes, onion, olives, and eggs to the potato salad. Toss well and serve!

So pretty...

So pretty…

...So yummy!

…So yummy!

Sides: French Potato Salad

This is another stab of mine at an Ina Garten recipe. That woman really does no wrong in my book, and this recipe proves just that. I’m a big fan of Southern-style potato salad, but this one is so fresh and flavorful with the tangy vinaigrette and fresh herbs that it’s a nice detour from mayo-heavy potato salads that we’re used to.

I will be honest, I’m not crazy about recipes that call for a million ingredients. I’m also not a fan of ingredients that are highly-specialized or very expensive. However, I passed up my usual six pack of fancy beer and decided to pick up some fancy vinegar instead. Luckily my grocer had a clearance on a walnut champagne vinegar. Even on sale, this shit was like $7 for 6.75 oz. But once you add your vinaigrette to the warm potatoes and you get a nose full, you’ll understand. And when your friends are asking you what that flavor is in the back that they just can’t place and you casually say, “Oh. It’s just this champagne vinegar I picked up. Sounded like a good idea at the time…” Get ready for the eyebrows. Shit just got real.

Here we go:

2 lbs of small potatoes (I love the little red ones, but feel free to add the white and reds together for color)
3 Tbs champagne vinegar (I used a walnut champagne for extra flavor… and it was on sale)
½ tsp Dijon mustard
10 Tbs quality extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced scallions, white and green
2 Tbs minced fresh dill
2 Tbs minced parsley
2 Tbs chiffonade of basil

1. Get a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add some salt, the same way you would if you were cooking pasta. Add the potatoes and cook for 20-30 minutes. Once tender, drain them and then add them back to the pot and throw the lid on them. This will let them steam, which lets them develop this creamy texture. Sounds nuts, but just go with it.

2. While your potatoes are at the spa, add your vinegar, mustard, oil, salt and pepper to a glass jar*. Shake it furiously until all of the ingredients combine to make a smooth dressing-like vinaigrette.

3. Take your warm potatoes and chop them into thick cubes. This may mean you’re quartering them, or if you’re using larger potatoes you’ll need to cube them a little smaller. Do what feels right.

4. Toss the potatoes with the vinaigrette, then add your fresh herbs. The warm potatoes will absorb the vinaigrette like a sponge, unlike if they were cold. The end results will be tasty potatoes literally packed with flavor from the inside out. Serve this warm or at room temperature.

French Potato Salad

French Potato Salad

*Pro tip: I keep little glass jars around the house for all kinds of shit. Every time I’ve used up a jar of olives, mustard, or whatever, I throw it in the dishwasher and add it to the collection. They are fantastic for cleaning your skate bearings (when friends stop by for a bearing cleaning party, I can send them home with a little jar or dirty turpentine!) and they are great for when you make your own dressings and marinades. Just throw your ingredients all into the jar, seal the lid tight, and shake like crazy… Preferably over the sink, just in case that lid got loose on you! It’s much fast than that whole ‘drizzle the oil slowly and whisk till your arm falls off’ method, and when you’re done you can throw it in the fridge, the cooler, your lunchbox, wherever… And it’s less mess.

Makin' dressing...

Makin’ dressing…