This past long weekend was a whirlwind – spring cleaning, gardening (more on that later!), catching up with friends, cheering for the marathon runners. It was also the hottest weekend we’ve had since August, bringing about cravings that don’t normally hit until mid-July. I found myself waking up with strawberry-banana smoothies on the brain and spent every evening on my back deck, a cold Grey Lady in hand.
Typically, my summertime cravings for anything cold and juicy (enter giant bowls of watermelon and popsicles for dinner) lead to an all-out aversion to any sort of food prep. As soon as I walk into my inferno of an apartment, any desire I had to turn on the oven washes right out of me. Luckily, our apartment managed to stay spring-like in temperature this weekend and fueled my drive to flip through my cookbooks and find the perfect salad.
It is rare for me to stick to a recipe. Usually, a recipe is used more as a flavor and proportion guideline. I find myself trading certain ingredients for those that are more appealing to my palate or, more likely, for what I already have in my pantry. Time and again, though, I have found that there is very little that I want to change in Heidi’s recipes. Super Natural Everyday has become an essential part of my kitchen and is a fabulous way to pull yourself out of a food rut.
The photograph alone for Heidi’s Mostly Not Potato Salad was enough to push me out the door to TJ’s, in search of leeks and whole-grain mustard. While this dish does require a bit more prep time than, say, your typical green dinner salad, it came together in under 30 minutes and I hardly broke a sweat. With this salad, I only took liberties with the actual size of some of the veggies (shortcuts are the only way to go sometimes!) and, without chives available in my kitchen, turned to thinly sliced green onions instead.The perfect salad showcases something soft and something crunchy, as well as a beautiful marriage of sweetness, acidity, and saltiness. Heidi’s potato salad? Perfection.
Mostly Not Potato Salad
- 4 small red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
- Big handful of green beans, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon natural cane sugar or agave nectar
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dill
- 1 small leek, white and tender green parts, trimmed and chopped
- 6 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
- 1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and cut into tiny cubes
- 6 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
- 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
- Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes, or until just fork tender. 30 seconds before the potatoes are finished, add the green beans. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the following: mustard, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and sea salt. Set aside.
- In a small non-stick pan, heat about a teaspoon of olive oil over a medium flame and add the chopped dill. Saute until fragrant, then add the chopped leeks and cook for about 5 minutes until just golden.
- In a large bowl, gently toss the potatoes, green beans, leeks, celery, cucumber, tofu, green onions, and dressing.
This salad was delicious slightly warm but was even better the next day after being chilled overnight.
While summer will be welcomed with open arms, I hope to handle the heat in my kitchen for at least a few months more…