To celebrate Easter, my family gathers at a designated house and shares each other’s company along with an early dinner. Typically, for dinner a leg of lamb or hunk of beef is barbecued. Everyone brings a side for sharing. We have everything from scalloped potatoes to asparagus and the infamous jello salad.
Each holiday celebration is centered around food in my family. Menu planning begins weeks in advance. My dad searches through the deep freeze for prime ribs, pork loins, and lamb for the barbecue. All of the sides are left to the ladies.
This year I wanted to elevate the Easter spread by adding a fresh new take on potato salad. I rarely eat potatoes (I prefer bread over potatoes), but when I do I eat yukon gold or Dutch potatoes. They have a beautiful yellow-golden hue and carry a exquisite butter flavor.
My take on a spring potato salad is a German version because of the vinaigrette dressing over a mayonnaise based dressing. I combine California olive oil with a strong red wine vinegar, fresh parsley, smashed garlic, honey, and dijon mustard. The dressing is light and packed with flavor.
The salad brings a breath of spring with English peas and fennel or anise shavings. I blanch the peas in boiling water for about one minute before immediately transferring to an ice bath. Blanching takes the crunch out of vegetables while maintaining the bright color. This method can be used with so many other vegetables. Some of my favorites are shaved asparagus and green beans or sugar peas.
Being that this is a potato salad, it is a perfect picnic dish that can be made in advance. In fact, I believe that letting the salad sit over night enhances the flavors. Just make sure to season well with salt. Potatoes need a lot of it for the full flavor to come to light.
Happy Easter and God bless!
German Style Spring Potato Salad
1 pound baby Dutch yellow potatoes
1/2 cup English peas (fresh or frozen)
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup very thinly shaved fennel (anise), reserve fronds for plating
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 recipe spring dressing (below)
Wash potatoes under cool water. Slice in half and larger potatoes into quarters. Add to a medium saucepan and cover with cool water. Bring the pan to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 14 minutes. Do not overcook potatoes. Drain and allow to cool.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Blanch peas for 1 minute. Peas should remain a bright green color. Immediately drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.
To assemble salad, toss together potatoes, peas, green onion, fennel and feta. Season heavily with salt. Toss vegetables with spring dressing, tasting for seasoning. Top with reserved fennel fronds. Serves 8-12 as a side
1/2 cup California olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves smashed garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a glass mason jar. Using an emersion blender, blend on high until a homogenous mixture forms. All garlic and herbs should be chopped up finely.
Recipe Note: If you do not have an emersion blender a food processor or high powered blender may be used. I prefer an emersion blender because I find it simpler and easier to use.