The French Potato Salad is an elegant affair, not like those dreadful mayonnaise laden offerings we see so much of. This is all about the quality of the new potatoes, they need to be fresh and almost earthy. I have to say the farmers market new potatoes do taste better than supermarket ones.
What I struggled with the most when I first attempted this dish, was over cooking the potatoes so very sadly they turned out a tiny bit on the mushy side which frankly ruined the whole thing. Then I over compensated and ended up with undercooked tatties – honestly almost worse. I persevered and learned to drain the potatoes when they were just tender then allowed them to steam in a colander covered by a dishtowel for 5-10 minutes. You need to start checking after about 5 minutes, depending on their size as the tiny ones are done in only 5 minutes and the larger can take up to 15. Just insert a sharp knife and keep testing.
Naturally this is more of a blueprint than a regimented recipe. Switch out the herbs to ones you love, leave out the celery or tomatoes if you like, add more olives etc. Add what you love. I like to add the fresh herbs just before serving, don’t add them to hot potatoes as they seem to oxidize and turn black!
This is such a lovely summer dish – I’ve been known to eat it for breakfast.Print
French Potato Salad
1 lb good quality new potatoes with their skins on (if they’re big cut them in half)
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
2–3 sticks celery, diced
1/3 cup great quality pitted olives (black or green or a combination)
1/4 cup diced spring onions
1 cup fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme, mint are all great)
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 – 3/4 cup good olive oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender. If the potatoes are very tiny start testing after 5 minutes, for larger ones it could take 15 – 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander, place a towel over them and allow to steam for 5 – 10 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking prepare the tomatoes, celery, olives, spring onions and fresh herbs.
Then make the dressing: whisk together the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Gradually add the olive oil, whisking as you go until emulsified. Test the dressing, adding more salt, pepper, herbs or vinegar if needed.
Place the potatoes into a large bowl, pour over the dressing and gently combine, add the tomatoes, olives and spring onions. Stir well and allow to sit. Serve at room temperature or straight from the fridge. Add the chopped herbs just before serving. The salad will keep well in the fridge for a 2-3 days.