To me, summer means potato salad season. And coleslaw season, and watermelon season, and ice cream season, and gin and tonic season. . . but primarily, potato salad season. So, quick: when you think of potato salad, what type do you think of?
Well, there are the “smooth and creamy potato salad” people. There are the “tangy, vinegary potato salad” people. There are the “small cubed potatoes potato salad” people and the “big, honkin’ chunks of potato potato salad” people. There are the “grilled potatoes potato salad” people. And there are even the “radishes and potatoes potato salad ” people (an iteration I’d never encountered before this summer).
And moi? I like ‘em all. The HH is a huge fan of potatoes in any form, prepared using any cooking method and dressed with any and all toppings or seasonings (unfortunately, his sole requirement is that they be plated alongside a piece of animal protein).
(“And Mum, don’t forget the ‘canine potato salad people’. . . oh, actually, we’ll just take that piece of animal protein instead.”)
Since I adore leafy green vegetables and have also been trying to incorporate more of them into my diet lately, I’m eternally scouting out recipes that make use of greens in novel and interesting ways. A few nights ago I remembered this old favorite that we haven’t eaten in a couple of years at least. The recipe is from a book I found over a decade ago, in the remainder bin at a local bookstore. Called, simply, The Greens Book, it’s a slender volume offering a multitude of esoteric recipes with a handful of more accessible ones (of which this salad is one). Mostly, I’ve used the book as a reference source when I want to identify some mysterious or previously unencountered green that’s crossed my path (sometimes literally), as it also provides sharp and stunning photographs of each type of leaf.
I’ve proclaimed my affection for raw dandelion greens in an earlier post; this salad uses barely-wilted stems and leaves and pairs them with cooked, still-warm potato chunks and a lemony, garlicky, olive-oil dressing. It’s quick, easy, and perfect as an accompaniment to a Bar B Q buffet or as a main course if served alongside another salad. Because the flavors are so pronounced, this dish can easily liven up a humble or mildly flavored main course.
Although they’re not technically herbs, dandelions do grow in my very own backyard, so I’m submitting this recipe to Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging event, started at Kalyn’s Kitchen and this week hosted by Simona at Briciole and to Jacqueline and Lisa’s No Croutons Required.
Warm Dandelion and Potato Salad
suitable for ACD Stage 2 and beyond
from The Greens Book by Susan Belsinger and Carolyn Dille
Cooked on the stovetop in no time at all, this salad won’t overheat the house on a hot summer’s evening. Though it’s great served warm, this is also wonderful at room temperature.
1/2 pound (225 g.) dandelion greens, picked over, washed, and dried
1-1/2 pounds (675 g.) red-skinned potatotes
1/3 cup (80 ml.) extra virgin olive oil
zest from one lemon
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
salt and freshly ground pepper
juice from one large lemon (about 1/4 cup–60 ml.)
generous 1/4 cup (60 ml.)–we use more like 1/3 cup or 80 ml.–pitted and sliced kalamata olives (or use whole if you can’t find pitted)
Remove dandelion leaves from stems and tear or chop into large bite-sized pieces. Cut the stems into pieces about 3/4 inch (2 cm.) long.
Scrub the potatoes. Slice into 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick slices, or, if they’re small, just cut in half. Place in pot, cover with water, and bring to boil. Cook 10-12 minutes, until just fork-tender. Drain and keep warm.
Mix the olive oil, lemon zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Place about 2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) of the mixture, including some bits of garlic, in a sauté pan. Heat over medium heat and add the dandelion stems. Cook and stir for 4 minutes. Add the greens and stir for one minute longer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. The stems should be cooked but still crispy, and the greens should be barely wilted.
Transfer the dandelion ixture to a bolw and cover with the hot potatoes. Add the lemon juice and rest of the oil mixture, and toss well. Add the olives and toss again. Taste for seasoning and serve. Makes 6 servings as a side dish or 4 as a main course.