by Ellen Laing
Potato & Snap Pea Salad
1 lb potatoes (Sweet Leaf Farm)
1/2 lb snap peas (about a pint and a half) (Deep Roots Farm)
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. sea salt (and 1 tsp. for blanching water)
1 Tbsp. minced shallot (or shallot scapes) (Gales Meadow Farm)
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
(optional 1 Tbsp chopped tarragon and/or chives)
3 Tbsp olive oil
Finish with salt & black pepper to taste
Wash potatoes and place in pot (whole with skins on). Cover with cold water and slowly bring it to the bubbly stage – not a boil, but a bare simmer. The more slowly you cook the potatoes, the more uniformly they will cook. Keep the water at a bare simmer and start to check the potatoes by poking them with a toothpick after about 20 minutes.
Depending on the size of the potatoes, it may take 30 or 40 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking oh-so-gently, prepare the other elements of the salad:
1. Snap the stem end from the snap peas and cut to desired size – you can keep them whole if you like, or cut them in half diagonally.
2. Mix together the white wine vinegar & mustard in a small bowl.
3. Mince the shallot & parsley. When the potatoes feel like they give evenly from the skin to the center, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep the water from the potatoes to blanch the peas.
Turn up the heat under the potato water until it’s boiling, and add 1 tsp. of salt. Toss your prepared snap peas in the salted water and stir gently. Remove them just when they’re uniformly bright green – it only takes about 30-40 seconds. If you go longer they end up a sad, tired green. Take them out and plunge them into cold water to cool. Drain them.
The potatoes should now be cool enough to handle but not cold. Chop them into the size that you like – again, you could leave them whole if you’ve got wee baby potatoes, or you can cut them into bite sized pieces, whatever floats your boat. Put them into a bowl big enough for the entire salad. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt & the vinegar-mustard mixture. The flavors meld & penetrate into the potatoes better if you add them when the potatoes are warm…but adding the oil at the end is best because it prevents the ‘soggy salad’.
Mix in the snap peas, shallot and parsley (or other herbs). Drizzle with olive oil and taste. If you like, finish with some more salt and black pepper.