American-style potato salad, thickly dressed with mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish, is archetypal picnic fare and will always have a place on summer tables. But we’ve cooked (and eaten) piles of it over the years, and these days, we yearn for something lighter and fresher to serve with grilled fish, chicken and even meat.
In our mind, French potato salad is just the ticket. Having little in common with its American counterpart, French potato salad is served warm or at room temperature and is composed of sliced potatoes glistening with olive oil, white wine vinegar and plenty of fresh herbs.
We used small red potatoes, slicing them before boiling them to eliminate torn skins and broken slices. Then we poured a vinaigrette flavored with mustard and garlic over warm potatoes spread on a sheet pan, folding in fine herbs before serving.
FRENCH POTATO SALAD WITH DIJON
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2 pounds small red potatoes (1-2 inches in diameter), unpeeled, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons salt
1 garlic clove, peeled and threaded on skewer
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
11/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh chervil (if unavailable, substitute an additional 1/2 tablespoon of minced parsley and an additional 1/2 teaspoon of tarragon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, add water to cover by 1 inch, and bring to boil over high heat. Add the salt, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender and a paring knife can be slipped in and out of potatoes with little resistance, about 6 minutes.
While potatoes are cooking, lower the skewered garlic into simmering water and blanch for 45 seconds. Run garlic under cold running water, then remove from skewer and mince.
Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, then drain potatoes and arrange in a tight single layer in a rimmed baking sheet. Whisk the oil, minced garlic, vinegar, mustard, pepper and reserved potato cooking water together in a bowl, then drizzle over potatoes. Let potatoes sit until flavors meld, about 10 minutes. (Potatoes can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours; return to room temperature before serving.)
Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Combine the shallot and herbs in a small bowl, then sprinkle over potatoes and gently toss to coat using a rubber spatula. Serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 363 calories; 130 calories from fat; 14 g fat (2 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 674 mg sodium; 52 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 6 g protein.