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.
ROYAL POTATO PESTO EGG SALAD
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
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
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
Pickled Quail Eggs from Chow
Quail Egg Stuffed Mushrooms from BiteDelite