French Potato Salad with Dijon Mustard and Fines Herbes

From Cook's Illustrated | July/August 2002

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Why this recipe works:

We wanted a French potato salad recipe that would be pleasing not only to the eye but to the palate. The potatoes would have to be tender but not mushy, and the flavor of the vinaigrette would have to penetrate the relatively bland potatoes. To fulfill these potato salad recipe requirements,… read more

We wanted a French potato salad recipe that would be pleasing not only to the eye but to the palate. The potatoes would have to be tender but not mushy, and the flavor of the vinaigrette would have to penetrate the relatively bland potatoes. To fulfill these potato salad recipe requirements, we sliced the potatoes before boiling them, eliminating 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 fines herbes before serving.

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Serves 6 as a side dish

If fresh chervil isn’t available, substitute an additional 1/2 tablespoon of minced parsley and an additional 1/2 teaspoon of tarragon. For best flavor, serve the salad warm, but to make ahead, follow the recipe through step 2, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Before serving, bring the salad to room temperature, then add the shallots and herbs.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds small red potatoes (about 2-inch diameter), unpeeled, scrubbed, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons table salt
  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled and threaded on skewer
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chervil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves

Instructions

  1. 1. Place potatoes, 6 cups cold tap water, and salt in large saucepan; bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium. Lower skewered garlic into simmering water and partially blanch, about 45 seconds. Immediately run garlic under cold tap water to stop cooking; remove garlic from skewer and set aside. Continue to simmer potatoes, uncovered, until tender but still firm (thin-bladed paring knife can be slipped into and out of center of potato slice with no resistance), about 5 minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Arrange hot potatoes close together in single layer on rimmed baking sheet.

    2. Press garlic through garlic press or mince by hand. Whisk garlic, reserved potato cooking water, vinegar, mustard, oil, and pepper in small bowl until combined. Drizzle dressing evenly over warm potatoes; let stand 10 minutes.

    3. Toss shallot and herbs in small bowl. Transfer potatoes to large serving bowl; add shallot/herb mixture and mix gently with rubber spatula to combine. Serve immediately.

Technique

Dressing the Potatoes

After the potatoes have been thoroughly drained, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle evenly with vinaigrette.

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