Continuing my obsession with the aromatic invasive herb, here’s minty potato salad that works brilliantly with everything from chicken to asparagus and BBQ salmon with mint and basil, which add new flavours to an old favourite.
I’ve been investigating which potatoes work best in potato salad and have come to the definite conclusion that waxy potatoes are the only way to go. Floury potatoes, are perfect for mashed or baked spuds, but when it comes to a cold salad I like a potato that holds its shape. In that I disagree with Nigel Slater writing in The Guardian, who apparently likes his potato salad a bit mushy. The great English educator, florist and food writer Constance Spry declared in one of her many cookbooks that “the dressing should be poured over the cooked potatoes while these are still hot in order that it may penetrate into the slices.” I agree, which is why I have divided my dressing into a marinade applied when the potatoes are hot and a dressing for when the potatoes have cooled. Mint, of course, is heavily involved.
Potato salad is one of those summer sides which goes well with a multitude of mains: BBQ, of course, chicken in any iteration, asparagus for vegetarians, and my favourite fish, salmon, especially when grilled.
My second recipe, for salmon with mint and basil, is a variation on an old favourite. If you don’t have a BBQ or access to one, you can use a cast iron grill pan with ridges, or cook the fish under the broiler in the oven (with the oven door open).
MINTY POTATO SALAD
- 600g / about 1 1/3 lb / about 6 medium sized waxy white fleshed potatoes
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 5 TBSP EVOO
- sea salt
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 2 TBSP capers, chopped
- 2 anchovies, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup mint, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
- sea salt
- Whole parsley sprigs
- Whole mint leaves or tips
Preparation and cooking
- Peel potatoes, cut in quarters and boil in generously salted water for about 10 minutes, stopping before the edges get soft. Drain into a colander.
- Mix together mustard and lemon juice with a pinch of salt, then whisk in EVOO, until the mix is well emulsified. Toss the warm potatoes in the dressing, then leave to cool.
- In another bowl, mix more Dijon, spring onions, capers, anchovies, parsley and mint with mayonnaise.
- When the potatoes have cooled, spoon the potatoes into the new bowl, leaving behind any excess vinaigrette. Then toss them in the mayonnaise dressing. Refrigerate for at least 1 hr.
- Before serving, garnish with mint and parsley.
Serving suggestion: Layer some Boston lettuce leaves into a pretty glass serving bowl for decoration. Heap the salad on top and garnish with perfect mint leaves or tips and parsley sprigs.
BBQ SALMON WITH MINT AND BASIL
- 4 7oz / 200 g salmon fillets, skin on
- 8 lemon slices
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed and de-stemmed
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and de-stemmed
- ½ cup EVOO
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
Preparation and cooking
- Prepare BBQ and bring to medium heat.
- Brush lemon slices and fish with a little EVOO and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Grill lemon slices, until grill marks appear, 2 to 3 mins max. Transfer lemon to a plate. Grill fish, skin sides down, until skin is crisp, 3 to 4 mins max. Turn each piece of fish onto 1 side and grill 1 min. Turn over onto opposite side and grill until fish is just cooked through, 2 to 3 mins max. Transfer fish to a platter and keep warm, covered loosely with foil.
- Heat basil and mint in about 1/4 cup warm EVOO over low heat, stirring, until herbs are just wilted, about 1 min.
- Garnish with wilted mint and basil and lemon slices.
Serving suggestion: Sides of new potatoes and asparagus.
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This is Nigel’s 284th blog on Gentleman’s Portion. The SEARCH function at the top works really well, if you want to look back and see some of his previous stories. Here is the link to Market to Table: The Cookbook, a bargain at $11.50. The link to Gentleman’s Portion: The Cookbook is now live, even better priced at $9.99 or £9.99.
Categories: Simply food