Summer meals are all about easy, casual and tasty. Not about hot kitchens and elaborate preparations. I don’t know about your family and friends but mine seem to crave things like potato salad, grilled proteins and baked fixed up beans. I make a lot of that all summer long. Personally, my standard potato salad is tasty but I get tired of it, all that mayo…. It is not as good either after a day or two. Plus I have a few friends who dislike mayonnaise so this is a great alternate salad to the standard version.
So when I was trying to plan a tasty meal to take to the beach the standard potato salad just didn’t appeal. I thought of a few past potato salads that were made with a simple vinaigrette and decided to go that route. This recipe is a riff on one I found on foodnetwork.com; by Alex Guarnaschelli, I made it a bit simpler as I was going to feed people who I thought wouldn’t want the gherkins and shallots. Plus I was out of fresh parsley; oh the shame of that! I think you could add or subtract the fresh herbs you have on hand to make it as you like. I used champagne vinegar as I was out of red wine vinegar; gave a nice pale color with no pink as the red wine is apt to do.
This is made with baked potatoes. Alex uses golden Yukon. I used some russets – both are great choices. I baked them while making some oven fried chicken so the oven was already going full steam. Therefore I was not heating up the stove top with a big pot of potatoes boiling. The baked potatoes are also a tad drier which is nice texturally. I recommend them especially if you can combine with baking something else!
If you never had a vinaigrette potato salad you are in for a revelation of how different it will be. All the herbs make it so fresh tasting and light compared to mayo based salad. Here’s hoping you enjoy some soon for your next picnic or barbecue.
Vinaigrette Herbed Baked Potato Salad
6 russet potatoes or 12 golden Yukon potatoes (roughly 2 to 2.5 lbs)
1 tbsp. capers
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 -3 sprigs fresh oregano
2-3 stalks garlic or regular chives
3-4 stalks fresh dill
5 to 6 tbsp. white or red wine or champagne vinegar, divided
1 tbsp. whole grain mustard or Dijon mustard
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, can use part lighter olive oil
Set aside 2 tbsp of vinegar to put right on the hot potatoes. Mix the rest and shake it up really well.
Bake potatoes at 375 or 400 degrees until a fork pieces them; 45 minutes to an hour. Let them cool a few minutes before peeling. Peel and slice while still warm into a bowl. Sprinkle with the 2 tbsp. vinegar and then the fresh herbs which you have minced. I have this cool herb scissors I got for Christmas that does the job fast and easy. If preferred, you could sub in some fresh basil and or parsley for some of those fresh herbs I used.
Sprinkle on the capers. Use the small kind, not those big over-sized critters! You can add the gherkins and shallots Alex likes if you want; see her recipe if you want that extra zing. Pour the dressing over; like two thirds of it; stir it gently and add more until it is as moist as you want. Add salt and black pepper to taste; maybe ½ to 1 tsp. salt and a good sprinkle of pepper.
It was still wonderful the next day for lunch; not much leftover though. Great with grilled or fried chicken.