A Better Potato Salad (mayonnaise-free)
Both potato salad and egg salad, in their traditional senses, have always left me cold. Potato salad recalls a sweltering August afternoon, an enormous Tupperware container of gooey white mass, hanging out somewhere between the gas grill and the Dr. Pepper. And egg salad, even worse: grade school lunch. Smushed between two slices of white bread, mummified in plastic wrap, the sickening smell divulged all at once, as the thermo-bag in which it has been fermenting for five hours is unzipped.
Ehm. Sorry. This is supposed to be enticing.
Long story short, I have warmed to both potato salad and to hard-boiled eggs over the years. The discovery that egg salad need not be stinky and potato salad need not be gooey and doused in mayonnaise was something of a revelation. The first time I realized that potato salad can be delicious but not necessarily artery-clogging was during lunch preparation with my German co-workers in New York. We made lunch together on two hotplates nearly every day for the four plus years I worked there. And the studio continues to do it every day and probably will for as long as they are in business. It was a tiny slice of European class, even decadence, to take one hour out of a busy New York weekday to cook a lunch from scratch and sit down together with real plates and forks and knives. The meals were not always fancy, and often had a simple base of pasta, rice or potato, but were always from fresh ingredients and exceedingly satisfying.
Recipe: Potato and Egg Salad, Mayonnaise-free
yield: four large servings
1 kg potatoes (waxy or festkochend)
6 eggs, hard-boiled
2 carrots, shaved lengthwise
2 large spring onions, white and light green parts, diced
150 g feta cheese, crumbled
1 small bunch finely chopped parsley
1 large handful arugula, roughly chopped
2 tbsp. capers, roughly chopped
150 g Greek yogurt
1 small clove garlic
4 tbsp. olive oil
juice from one lemon
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
splash of apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. honey
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Prepare potatoes: scrub potatoes and chop into large pieces of equal size. (This is important so that they cook evenly. If all your potatoes are exactly the same size, I wouldn’t worry about it, unless you want them to cook much faster.) Place in a medium-sized pot and fill with cold water and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook on high heat until a fork easily pierces through the flesh. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, prepare and chop hard-boil eggs into small pieces, shave carrots, dice spring onions, and chop herbs and capers.
- Prepare dressing: very finely chop garlic and mix in a small jar or bowl with a pinch of salt. Whisk in olive oil, vinegar, honey, lemon and Dijon mustard until smooth. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Set aside.
- By now, your potatoes should be cool enough to handle (but still a bit warm). Peel if you are so inclined (I always leave the peel on, but that’s my own taste) and chop into bite-sized pieces. Place potatoes in a large bowl, along with eggs, spring onions, carrots, arugula, parsley and capers. Stir gently and crumble in the feta cheese. Pour the dressing over the top and mix everything together gently with a spoon. Lastly, dump an entire container (150 grams) of Greek yogurt over the top and stir again, gently, to incorporate into the salad.
Enjoy this potato salad for a hearty lunch or as a side dish at a brunch or picnic.