I’ve always been puzzled by the heaviness of most potato salads. It’s a summertime food, but the traditional mayonnaise-laden potato salad rarely reflects the freshness, herbaciousness and lightness I think summertime foods should have.
So though this is a potato salad, it goes for balance and bright, lively flavors rather than the starchy, heavy mayonnaisey strategy. Shallots, fresh mint, lemon zest and garlic make up the dressing, chickpeas deliver a nutty flavor, and arugula a peppery bite.
This is quite the local salad – potatoes from T&D Willey, arugula and shallots from KMK Farms, garlic also from the market, lemon zest from my stash of Meyer lemon zest prepared during the winter from fruit from a friend’s tree.
Chickpeas & mint are from WFM, as are the quite non-local pan-toasted slices of Cyprian Halloumi cheese served with it. If you wanted cheese as part of this salad, a great many sheep’s milk cheeses would be a great match – from crumbled milky-salty Ricotta Salata to cubes of buttery-olivey Ossau-Iraty. Wish I knew of a local sheep’s milk cheese!
Recipe after the jump.
For the vinaigrette:
2-3 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 1/2 T.)
6 T. olive oil (divided)
2 T. white wine vinegar
1 T. lemon zest
1/4 c. fresh mint leaves
salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
6 medium new red potatoes, cut in chickpea-sized chunks (about 3 c.)
3 c. cooked chickpeas
8 c. arugula
1/4 c. fresh mint leaves, torn
Place the potatoes in a medium-sized skillet and add 1/2 c. of water. Bring to a boil, add salt to taste, reduce to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until tender but not broken down, checking occasionally to see if more water is needed. When cooked, pour the potatoes into a colander and allow to drain for a few minutes until well dry.
While the potatoes are cooking, sauté the shallots in 1 T. olive oil until wilted and translucent. Place them in the container of a food processor and add the garlic, remaining olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon zest, mint leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Buzz until the mint leaves are chopped into tiny bits and the dressing is emulsified. Set aside.
In a wide, shallow bowl, combine the potatoes, chickpeas, and mint leaves, pour the dressing over and fold it in gently so as not to break down the potatoes. Just before serving, add the arugula and fresh mint leaves and toss gently. Serve at once. (The salad will be just as delicious the next day, maybe more, but the mint leaves and arugula will not be beautiful.)
Makes 4 servings.