Saturday, July 9, 2011

Green Goddess Potato Salad


I'd never thought of vegetables like garlic, onions, potatoes and cabbage as having a season. They're staples, and just always available.


Then when I started thinking about things like 'seasons,' I decided that garlic, onions, cabbage and potatoes were winter foods.


When I opened up my CSA box this past week, I realized that I was wrong again. These vegetables do have a season, and annoyingly, that season is summer. When everything else is in season too. When I would prefer to cook with vegetables that don't hang around all year long: heirloom tomatoes, summer squash and corn, for instance. But no. The box brimmed with MORE garlic (we already have a dozen heads curing in the cupboard from boxes past), two massive onions the size of my head, two different types of potatoes, and a tiny, green cabbage head.


I had many indignant thoughts, including those above, and, 'Who eats cabbage and potatoes in the summer? Who?' I pouted a little (maybe a lot), and punished the vegetables by making them sit in the fridge for a week.


When July fourth rolled around, I practically clapped my hand to my forehead (does anyone actually do that?) when I realized that rather than being mean and stingy, Eatwell Farm was incredibly considerate to provide us with potato salad and coleslaw makings for the upcoming holiday.

I apologized to them in my head, then whipped up this tasty treat.


Green Goddess salad was originally a 1920's San Francisco concoction, created by the chef of the Palace Hotel in honor of Brit actor George Arliss, who was staying at the hotel while starring in a production of The Green Goddess. The creamy dressing consists of mayonnaise blended with garlic, anchovies, and soft herbs, and provides the same pungent creaminess as a Caesar or ranch, only more herbaceous. Wanting to add some pizazz to the american picnic staple, I decided to dress the salad in a green goddess-esque mayonnaise.

I chose dill and tarragon for the herbs as they are classics with potatoes, and basil because it reminds me that summer is really here (all boxes aside), and I love the blend of flavors that came about. Other soft herbs would work, too; try any combination of cilantro, parsley, chives, chervil, or watercress.


Inspired by some wild-looking 'dragon's tongue radishes', I kept it simple with thinly sliced radish, fennel and red onion. Pickled vegetables, capers or slices of hard-boiled egg would also be welcome additions.


I'd imagine this would be equally delicious with blanched, chopped green beans, sliced cucumbers or sweet corn kernals in place of the fennel and radish.


But don't dilly dally; unlike potatoes, those veggies won't hang around all year long.


You say potato:
Green Garlic Chive Potato Cakes
Oven Roasted Potatoes and Parnips
Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

One year ago:
Multi-Grain Sandwich Bread

Green Goddess Potato Salad

For the best flavor and texture here, use small, fresh potatoes with dense flesh. The anchovy, a staple of the classic Green Goddess dressing, adds a briny depth of flavor without making the dressing taste at all 'fishy.' Feel free to omit it if you don't have one handy; the salad will still taste great. While all the components can be made ahead, the salad tastes (and looks) best when freshly dressed. See the above post for herb and vegetable substitution suggestions.

The recipe will yield about 1 cup of mayonnaise; you only need half a cup for the salad, but the excess will keep for a week or two in the fridge, and is brilliant on sandwiches, as a dip for crudites, or thinned with olive oil and vinegar to drizzle over crunchy romaine or little gems.

2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1" chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2/3 cup packed basil leaves (about half a bunch)
1/2 cup packed tarragon leaves
1/3 cup chopped dill
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 anchovy fillet
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup good-quality mayonnaise, such as Spectrum Olive Oil (or homemade)
juice of 1- 2 lemons

1/4 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced radish
1/2 of a fennel bulb, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
black pepper

Cook the potatoes:
Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then cook until the potatoes are tender but not breaking apart, 10 minutes or so. Drain the potatoes (you can save the potato water to bake bread or use as a vegetable stock, if you like), and let cool completely.

Make the green goddess mayonnaise:
In a food processor, combine the herbs, garlic, anchovy, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mayonnaise, and blend until smooth. Blend in the juice of one of the lemons. You will have about 1 cup.

Make the salad:
Place the cooled potatoes in a large bowl. Add the onion, radish, fennel, 1/2 cup of the dressing, and a good grinding of black pepper. Toss together gently to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon or salt as you see fit. The salad tastes best when freshly dressed, but it will keep for up to a few days in the fridge.

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