Potato salads that can be a main dish

Oh, summer. I can almost hear the tomatoes ripening on their vines. The peaches are so ready that they throw themselves from their branches. The watermelons are starting to swell.

This means, among other things, that it’s time to revisit potato salad, a topic I’ve seen quite often on social media lately. Most of the talk has focused on traditional American potato salads, with a mayonnaise-based dressing, with a few nods to dressing-based versions.

I prefer completely savory potato salads and find those with the taste of sweet pickles or Miracle Whip inedible no matter what else is in them. The worst recipe I’ve seen for this dish calls for mashed potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, sugar, sweet pickle relish, and Miracle Whip. And no, it’s not a dessert.

Today’s recipes focus on potato salads with protein as the main ingredient. These are closer to main course salads than side dishes (it’s coming next week in Seasonal Pantry).

When shopping for salad potatoes, a farmers market or farm stand is your best bet. If you can find dry-grown potatoes, get them. They tend to have more concentrated flavors and nuances than other potatoes.

By cooking potatoes in water that has been used to cook artichokes, you infuse those potatoes with another layer of earthy flavor. It’s delicious without the cod but even better with it.

Salad of salted cod, potatoes and artichokes

For 6 to 8 people

¾ pound salt cod, soaked in cold water for 1 or 2 days (change water twice a day)

4 large or 6 medium artichokes, preferably of the Green Globe variety

4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 Yukon Gold potatoes (or other waxy-fleshed variety), each about 3 inches long

¼ cup sherry vinegar

2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice

3 garlic cloves, minced

Ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh chervil leaves, chopped

⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil

5 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

1 bunch (about 10) radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

¾ cup crushed green olives, pitted and sliced ​​lengthwise

2 tablespoons capers, drained

Take the cod out of its last bath of cold water, place it in a large sauté pan, cover with cold water and set over medium heat. When the water boils, remove the pan from the heat and cover it. Let stand 15 minutes, drain well and cool. Break the cod into bite-sized pieces and remove all bone pieces. Set aside or cover and refrigerate.

Place the artichokes in a large pot of water, add 3 teaspoons of kosher salt and drizzle a little olive oil over each artichoke. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until tender, 20 to 40 minutes depending on the size and type of artichoke. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the artichokes to a colander or strainer to cool. Keep the cooking juices in the pan.

Halve potatoes lengthwise, then cut each half into slices about ⅜ inch wide; don’t make them too narrow. Add the potatoes to the artichoke cooking water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain well and let cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, remaining teaspoon of kosher salt and several turns of black pepper. Add the herbs and whisk in the olive oil. Taste the vinaigrette, adjust the seasoning and set aside.

When the artichokes are cool enough to handle, separate the leaves from the hearts and scoop out and discard the thistle-shaped choke in the center. Cut the flesh from the base of each artichoke into thin julienne strips (on the outer leaves, you’ll only get one strip; the inner leaves will be tender enough that you can make 2 or 3 strips). Cut hearts crosswise into ¼ inch crosswise slices.

Cut 4 eggs into quarters. To assemble the salad, place the potatoes, artichokes, radishes, salt cod, quartered eggs and olives in a large bowl. Add half of the vinaigrette and toss gently. Transfer the salad to a serving platter and pour the remaining dressing over it. Using an egg slicer, cut the remaining egg into round slices and place them on the salad. Scatter the capers and grind a little pepper over the salad and serve immediately.

Mussels have an earthy dimension that pairs beautifully with potatoes, especially if you use dry-farmed mussels, which thrive with an earthy flavor. It makes a great addition to a buffet and is great with grilled ribs and grilled chicken.

Potato and mussel salad

Makes 6-10 servings

3 pounds small new potatoes, washed and cut into ⅛-inch rounds

Kosher salt

Juice of 2 lemons

½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed