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  • Writer's pictureChef Kelly Unger

Potatoes, a case for not peeling! French Potato Salad recipe

Potatoes have gotten a bad rap. There is misconception that they are empty calories, nothing but starch and raise your blood sugar, among other things. The truth is, it’s all the things we do to potatoes that make them unhealthy - smothering them with fat, frying them in fat and covering them in lesser quality calories. It’s not the potato's fault! And what is also the truth, potatoes “help stabilize your blood sugar… The skin of the potato is one of the best nutrition sources on the planet - it’s a miracle of amino acids, proteins, and phytochemicals… The entire potato, inside and out, is valuable and beneficial for your health: potato plants draw some of the highest concentrations of macro and trace minerals from the earth. Potatoes are also high in potassium and rich in vitamin B6, as well as a fantastic source of amino acids, especially lysine in its bioactive form. Lysine is a powerful weapon against cancers, liver disease, inflammation, and the viruses such as Epstein-Barr and shingles that are behind rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, autoimmune disease and more.” [Anthony William, Life Changing Foods pgs.158-159] All further vindication for me of my “never peel a vegetable” stance (there are very few exceptions).

So in the vain of keeping potatoes healthy and delicious, I am sharing a recipe for French Potato Salad with Dijon Mustard and Fines Herbes from America’s Test Kitchen. This dish has tons of flavor, is quick, easy, vegan and gluten-free. The two main tricks are; slicing the red new potatoes before cooking to keep the skins in tact AND spreading the hot, just cooked potatoes out on a sheet pan to ensure even absorption of the dressing. Dressing potatoes while warm is a crucial step. Warm potatoes will absorb dressing. Cool potatoes will not. Be careful with handling and stirring of the potatoes once cooked, since they are sliced before cooking they are more fragile.

The ingredients for this delicious salad can be found, as always, at the Doylestown Farmers Market. It's new potato season! If we don’t have shallots at the market this week, you can substitute it for one of the small fresh onions I know we definitely will have. And we certainly have the olive oil portion of the recipe covered with Mediterranean Delicacy’s oil from his family’s farm in Tunisia! Enjoy!

French Potato Salad with Dijon Mustard and Fines Herbes

From America’s Test Kitchen The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook

Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds small red potatoes, unpeeled, sliced ¼ “ thick

2 tablespoons salt

1 garlic clove, peeled and threaded on a skewer

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon pepper

1 small shallot, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh chervil

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

1.Place potatoes and salt in large saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes are just tender and paring knife can be slipped in and out of potatoes with little resistance, 5 to 6 minutes.

2.While potatoes are cooking, lower skewered garlic into simmering water and blanch for 45 seconds. Run garlic under cold running water, then remove from skewer and mince.

3.Drain potatoes, reserving ¼ cup cooking water. Arrange hot potatoes close together in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Whisk oil, minced garlic, vinegar, mustard, pepper and reserved potato cooking water together in a bowl, then drizzle evenly over potatoes. Let potatoes sit at room temperature until flavors meld, about 10 minutes. (Potatoes can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours; return to room temperature before serving.)

4.Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Combine shallot and herbs in a small bowl, then sprinkle over potatoes and combine gently using rubber spatula. Serve.

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