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Ottolenghi Inspired Potato Salad

Often a photo of something can spark my imagination. I follow Yotam Ottolenghi on Instagram and he posted a photo of what looked to be coarse grain mustard studded potato salad with fresh peas strewn throughout. I did a quick Google search and could not for the life of me locate any such recipe of his. So I improvised. I do love a good recipe but it is also fun and gets my creative juices flowing to just try making something as you go. Our friend CoCo was up from Portland visiting us this week-end so we grocery shopped & cooked dinner together. I roasted a chicken and this potato salad nestled right up to it perfectly. 

Hard boiled eggs and bacon were added to this to really bump up the heartiness of all this.  Plus we used some of the bacon fat to create the vinaigrette that the warm potatoes soaked up to create the dressing. We had leftovers, as we always cook for an army, and we are having them tonight. I can hardly wait and I just finished breakfast.

Cut up a bunch of green onions, put them in a bowl and cover the onions with rice wine vinegar. This does one of two things. It mellows the onions considerably, and the vinegar takes on some of the onion flavor. The rice wine vinegar will be used later to make the dressing. Set bowl aside. This should sit for at least a half hour. Longer is fine too.

In a large pot, add medium to large sized Yukon gold potatoes (I used 10 medium sized) to the water and bring to a boil. You want the potatoes whole with the skin still on. Using a sharp knife to insert into the potatoes as they cook to check when they are done. You want them a tad firm and not falling apart.

In a small pan add 4 eggs and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let cook for a minutes or two. Then turn the heat off and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. Take them out and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. Freshen the water, bring to a boil again, and blanch the peas for just a minute. Take them out, adding running cold water over the colander. Fresh peas cook so quickly, plus they will cook a bit once the warm potatoes hit them. Set aside.

As the potatoes boil away, put a few slices of really good quality bacon in a dry sauce pan on medium heat. I use a kitchen scissor and cut the raw bacon right into the pan. Cook until bacon is done, putting the now nice and browned bacon on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.

In a really good sized bowl, add 2 super generous spoonful of course ground mustard and 1 of Dijon mustard. Add a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of pepper. I know, it is quite a bit, but potatoes need it. Then add the rice wine vinegar that the green onions have been sitting in, letting the onions still sit in the bowl. They have not been called into duty quite yet. Then add some of the bacon fat that the bacon created along with extra virgin olive oil. With a fork or whisk, mix until you are happy with the consistency. This is the dressing for the potatoes, so you want a good amount as they really soak it up. If it is too thick, add more vinegar. If it is too thin, add a bit more bacon fat or more mustard. Try a taste as you go. 

Once the potatoes are done, take them out of the hot water and strain. They will still be pretty hot, but carefully cut them in quarters or slices, whichever you prefer, adding them to the vinaigrette as you cut them. The warm potatoes will soak up quite a bit of the dressing, which is what you want. Then add the bacon, peas, green onions and chopped up eggs. Toss. Have a taste. Does it need more salt or pepper? Maybe yes or maybe no. Then add a few handful of chopped Italian parsley. Toss again. One final taste. There, you did it! You just made one very hearty potato salad. Because this is not made with the traditional mayo, this potato salad can sit out a good long while, making it a lovely addition for a picnic or outside gathering this Summer. 



Ottolenghi Inpired Yukon Gold Potatoes

20160104-065643.jpg I become more and more of a fan of London based chef & cookbook author, Yotam Ottolenghi. We sell the heck out of his wildly successful books, with folks raving to me things they have tried from his recipes. The above potatoes inspired by Ottolenghi. Ordinary potatoes that become visually appealing and even tastier due to a few tweaks. I made them the other evening with filet mignon for New Year’s Eve dinner, the below a week ago for a simple week-night supper. These can be dressed up or casual, which I always love. I think they would be awesome as an appetizer too, served with green goddess dip. Here is what I did for an easy chicken breast meal during the week to spiff it up a bit.

Yukon gold potatoes are the way to go for this. Choose medium to smaller sized, trying to pick ones that are of a similar size. Oven to 400, my cooking sweet spot. Using a sharp knife for this, cut a little piece of the spud off the bottom, so the potato sits flat in the baking process. Next, slice up the potato being careful not to cut all the way to the bottom as you want the entire thing to stay intact. Do this with all the potatoes. Then lightly pour extra virgin olive oil over them all, that are sitting on a baking sheet ready for the oven. With your hands massage the oil over the entire potato so it is covered entirely with extra virgin olive oil, including the flat bottom so it does not stick and burn. Add pinches of salt & pepper over all. OK, here is where I added a bit of extra flavor, which you don’t have to do if you are cooking these without anything else. At the half hour point, I ladled over with a spoon some of the juices that had collected from the roasting chicken breasts that were right next to the potatoes. This reminds me so much of the potatoes placed under rotisserie chickens in Paris that cook in the drippings as the chickens rotate away. Those juices mixed with the EVOO are kind of magical stuff and it really helped to brown the potatoes and add a bit of extra flavor. When I cooked them solo, I added a teeny tiny bit of butter at the 30 minute mark. The butter melting down into the slits and adding more tastiness and helping them to brown. You can pass on this too, just ladle any extra oil that is on the pan at the half hour mark to give them a little extra brown. By minute 45, these little gems should be ready. Timing depends on the potato size, so check along the way by giving one a little squeeze to see if it is soft, which means it is done. They just look so cool and taste amazing.

P.S. I am experiencing some technical difficulties with my WordPress app on my phone when I am writing my blog post each morning. Typically I am able to go back and make edits after it posts. But when I have done it this week, it is posting to the next day. So I am not able to make edits without messing up the post. Please forgive any typos, which I generally catch after I read it after it is up on my site, but currently am not able to go back and change. Anywho, boring technical stuff. Have a glorious Monday/week and have fun making the potatoes if they make it into your repertoire.



Cookbooks Aplenty

20131004-072856.jpg It seems like daily we are opening up new cookbook titles from all our various book vendors. Actually, not all the titles are new to the market, but they are new to WK. Sort of like the Silver Palette book I showed the other day. It caught my eye several times yesterday as I walked by the display which made me so happy. Something really good 25ish years ago that has more than stood the test of time–still amazing today. Love it! I digress. Just arrived is ‘Ottolenghi: The Cookbook’ from the legendary London restaurant. Also, ‘Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird’ from the what is becoming the legendary Portland eatery. Both have been highly anticipated so we have a nice stack of both. A little mix of the new and the old.