May 22, 2013

Royal Potato Pesto Egg Salad

Few things make me happier, foodwise, than to open my refrigerator and find two or three different things that I can spoon or fork directly from the bowl, often with the door open. On days I'm feeling very proper, I present a nice plate with different things in it. Like an everyday mini buffet lunch or dinner.

I can't think of any better meal than one that involves a lot of dishes I like that get piled up in my plate. Maybe a very good sandwich, like this with serrano ham, mozzarella and arugula, can compete with that. 
Or a killer barbecue, but then, my barbecues involve several meats and salads, so we'd be back to the buffet like idea. Though to tell you the truth, I dislike the word buffet a lot, have no clue to why, I just do, but it serves its purpose very well here.

Anyway, a good potato salad would be essential as part of a killer barbecue and as part of my refrigerator buffet idea. And it's pretty hard to post a potato salad that has not been made before or that we haven't seen everywhere. Is it that we all pretty much like the same thing? Probably. For me it has some kick from mustard or vinegar, and I really like it with eggs and parsley.

Now, this one that I'm sharing today has probably everything that I like in a potato salad, and out of it, like a fantastic pesto and some accurately boiled quail eggs, with that creamy yolk that is for some reason creamier than the creamiest chicken egg one.

How can a pesto be so different? I don't know, I make them all the time and have posted a few, like the arugula almond one with pasta, a pasta pesto salad, the wonderful cauliflower pesto and a spinach pine nut lemon one in my other blog. And remind me that I´ve yet to share my favorite one, with sun dried tomatoes.
So, I dig pesto a lot. How come this one surprised me?

It is amazing. Different, as in just the right amount of every ingredient. So good.
It must be this guy Ottolenghi, who is so darn talented, even a potato egg salad gets the royal treatment. He made me eat those creamy buttermilk eggplants and taleggio stuffed portobellos, and I considered them a whole meal even though there was not an ounce of meat or starch of any kind.
I´m not a vegetarian, at all, have said it many times, but if I were, he would definitely reign supreme in my kitchen. Just as Nancy Silverton does in my baking kingdom.

So line up your potatoes, peas, basil pesto and quail eggs, make this super wonderful potato salad, and go on a picnic, celebrate the spring or the fall, or some holiday that must be coming soon, or just that life is good, despite the hands nature deals to many of us at times.

Or do as I do, make a huge bowl for yourself, have a few tablespoons every hour and call it a meal. 

barely adapted from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi

I add a lot of salt to the water where I cook my potatoes, and it makes a difference in the finished salad. It works better than adding extra afterwords.

Makes 4 to 6 servings


For the salad:
12 quail eggs
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 pounds potatoes, your favorites, unpeeled
1 Tbs wine vinegar
Bunch of spinach leaves, sliced thinly
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pesto:
1 cup basil leaves
½ cup parsley leaves, plus extra for garnish
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 shallot
½ cup (2oz – 30g) asiago or parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup olive oil


For the salad:
In a saucepan, cook the potatoes in very salted water, unpeeled, until the are tender but not too soft. Drain, peel as soon as you can, as they will absorb flavors better if hot, and put in a large salad bowl. Add vinegar and pepper and mix lightly.
Bring quail eggs to a boil (starting from cold water), and boil for 1 ½ minutes, for hard boiled eggs. Drain, let cool and peel. Reserve.
In boiling water, cook peas for 1 minute for frozen and 2 minutes for fresh, and drain. Put in the bowl with the potatoes.
Add the pesto, spinach and mix. Check for salt and pepper.
You can add the quail eggs, cut in half, to the whole salad, or you can add them to each individual plate, three per serving aprox.

For the pesto:
In a food processor or with an immersion blender, mix basil, parsley, pine nuts, shallot, cheese, black pepper and half of the oil. Add the rest of the oil and check for salt and pepper.
If not using all in the salad, keep covered in the refrigerator.

Today's 5 related links worth looking at:

Bacon Potato Salad from Simply Recipes
Baked Eggs in Potato Crust from Two Lazy Gourmets
Tuna Salad Nicoise from Magnolia Days


  1. Paula, i can't believe it-quail eggs. You'll have to see my latest post because I have a picture of quail eggs in a nest outside my mother's kitchen door. Can't say I've ever had them but now all I can think of is the nest! But this sounds very good!

  2. I'll have to flip through Plenty again and find this, because I haven't noticed it yet - that book is too full of eye candy to see everything!

    I totally know what you mean about eating a meal, a few tablespoons at a time, from the fridge. Easy to do when you work from home all day :)

  3. Paula, what wonderful recipes there are in Yotam Ottolenghis, "Plenty" - I love potato salad (how could I not coming from where I come from) but what I love even more is potato salads like this one, with fresh, bright, healthy and delicious additions to make a potato salad "extraordinaire".

  4. This looks so good - and you can never have too many potato salad recipes, as far as I'm concerned! Beautiful!

  5. You have now given me the reason to get and cook quail eggs for the first time. What an amazing salad.

  6. Wow, Paula - I was just talking to some friends about the great health benefits of Quail Eggs. I sent them the link to your post. This is just so "Springy"!

  7. That looks really incredible! I still have yet to have quail eggs.

  8. What a pretty salad! The flavors sound wonderful together.

  9. What a marvelous Potato Salad! With fresh spring flavors and elegant quail eggs, just divine!

  10. Your potato salad is so gorgeous, I love the flavours and the spring prettiness!


  11. Holy yum!!! That's what I'm talkin' about!! Who knew a potato salad could be so damn good!! LOVE THIS!!
    I also love the fact that you eat right out of the bowl propped up against the opened fridge door ... that's my favorite way to eat! :-D

  12. Paula,
    I feel the same way when I open my fridge. . and I almost always find something!! :) I totally want to get my hands on Plenty. . I've heard so many great things. . ah! one more cookbook. . does it ever end?
    I don't think I have ever had a quail eggs. . from your post, I can tell I'm missing out. . this looks amazing! I can't wait to try this!

  13. Quail eggs are such an elegant addition to potato salad, Paula. I bet the wine vinegar and the basil in the pesto kicks up an extra special notch, too. Thank you for this fantabulous recipe, my friend. Appreciate the tip about extra salt when boiling the potatoes, too =)

  14. Things like that happened to me in the night, just before going to bed...I always go to the kitchen to "drink" something, and suddenly I start eating leftovers, of course with the door opened, so I can have light...!!!

  15. Pesto and potatoes is a lovely idea. Lets have a picnic!

  16. Another completely gorgeous recipe. I love pesto with potatoes... great idea for a fancied up delicious potato salad! Re buffets. I don't like the word much either, mostly due to recollections of family-style buffets with children who stick their fingers in everything, mediocre salads and lukewarm meat. I usually use the Swedish word, 'smorgasbord', these days. Sounds much nicer, especially as I have family in Sweden so the word has warm association for me! I do love homestyle meals with lots of dishes though. That's the way that my husband and I eat most nights; I prepare lots of small things for variety and we pick and eat as we please! Thanks for sharing this recipe from 'Plenty'. I'll definitely be adding it to our repertoire :) xx

  17. This salad both looks beautiful and sounds delicious!

  18. I love quails eggs :) This is such a great combination! Lovely idea.

  19. I would be more than happy to have this as a meal, Paula! I love that it has pesto instead of being weighed down with a ton of mayonnaise.

  20. I dig pesto, all kinds. And DO NOT forget to post your sun-dried tomato version - sounds so good. I have never eaten a quail egg, but now I'll have to seek them out...

  21. How strange ... I did the same salad the other day ... - and I love it.
    It was Laura that told me that you had made a post about it too. Mine has maybe another angle to it.
    Nice meeting you, Viveka

  22. This potato salad rocks! I used some frozen pesto I had and froze peas, but fresh peas will soon be here and fresh basil is already abundant. I am with you, Paula, I am not a vegetarian (though I was in college out of self-defense - the cafeteria was execrable!), but Ottolenghi's book Plenty proved that vegetarian food like his could make a carnivor go veggie! ~ David (Sorry about the typos - I am on my iPad and it doesn't like it when you go back to change things!)


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