August 9, 2011

Mint Potato Salad

At the beginning of each summer, I like to prepare three large containers for my deck. One has fresh basil, another has "super fragrant" mint, and last is a hearty, cherry tomato plant. These three ingredients will flavor your salads, marinades or pasta, all season long.

I tasted this potato salad a few years back for the first time at my sister-in-law's, and fell head over heels in love. She has made it with balsamic vinegar, but most recipes call for red wine flavor. Try whatever vinegar you prefer, it's so good either way. One of my very favorite summer sides!

Mint Potato Salad
Insalata di Patata alla Menta
(serves 6-8)

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 medium sized red onion, chopped very fine (about 4 tbls)
1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn in small pieces
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
1 dozen small red-skinned potatoes
kosher salt/pepper to taste

Scrub the potatoes, but do not peel. (That's the beauty of red skinned potatoes!) In a large pot, sprinkle a generous amount of kosher salt in the bottom, then fill 3/4 of the way with cold water. 
Slice and soak the red onion (about 10 minutes) in a small bowl of ice water with a bit of red wine vinegar before slicing, (about 2 tablespoons). Red onions tend to overpower many recipes, and this soaking method tames it down a bit and gives the onion a nice flavor.
Cut up the potatoes into chunky, 1/2 inch pieces.
When the water begins to boil, add the potatoes. Cook until tender, but still a little firm. You want to be able to stir them together with the dressing later on without falling apart.
While the potatoes are cooking, you can prepare the dressing. In the bottom of a shallow dish, add the oil, vinegar, chopped garlic and onion, and fresh herbs. Using a fork, blend everything together.
Drain cooked potatoes in a colander...
and while still warm, spoon them into the pan with the dressing. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
Gently fold the potatoes and dressing together, then season to taste with salt and pepper. If you're planning on serving this the same day, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit right on your countertop. If you want these for another time, just chill in the fridge, and periodically give it a gentle stir.

The potatoes will soak up the delicious dressing, and the fresh mint really adds a fresh, summer taste. This is such a great alternative to the typical potato salad made with mayo. Hope you enjoy it!


Anonymous said...

this is the best potato salad ever :)


"Vanilla and Thyme" said...

I absolutely agree ~ However, I have to say I will never be able to duplicate Connie's ~ her version is the best!