I have had a potato salad revelation (yes, there is such a thing!).
Up until now, I have always boiled my potatoes whenever I made a potato salad because, well, that’s just what you do, isn’t it? But this time, I decided to try roasting the potatoes for my salad instead, and I was amazed at what a difference it made. The potatoes went from simply being a carrier of flavors to being an integral taste component of the salad, bursting with flavor and texture.
I often roast potatoes for dinner as an easy side dish, and we always eat them hot straight out of the oven – crispy and flavorful on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. I had never even considered eating them as part of a cold dish until one late afternoon last week when I decided to make a potato salad for a family barbecue and suddenly realised that I just couldn’t face the whole potato boiling process.
You know what I mean when I call it a process. First, you need to bring a big pot of water to the boil, which takes ages (Note: the more you check on the water, the longer it takes to boil). Then you have to add the potatoes which makes the water cool down, so you need to bring it back up to the boil all over again (see Note about water, above). You also need to make sure that the water doesn’t overflow when you add the potatoes. And be aware that just when you turn your back to do something else, the heat will suddenly accelerate and make the water bubble over the top of the pot, causing a big mess on your stovetop. Just when everything seems to be under control, you need to start checking the potatoes with a skewer for ‘doneness’. The potatoes need to be properly cooked all the way through but not so soft that they start to break apart. It can be a tricky call. Finally, there is the whole draining bit. Rushing to the sink to drain the potatoes because, if you are like me, you have gotten involved in something else and have invariably forgotten about the potatoes until they are only seconds away from overcooking. Watch out for that hot steam coming at your face! Whew, boiling potatoes is actually a very involved process.
Roasting is much easier. Simply toss your potatoes in extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Put your potatoes into a pre-heated oven and roast for 45 minutes. At most, you will need to flip them over halfway through cooking. It’s easy-going, and there is definitely no steam in your face. I couldn’t get myself to boil the green beans either, so they went into the oven as well and turned out intensely delicious.
This recipe for ‘Roasted Potato and Green Bean Salad with Capers and Olives’ is vibrant both to look at and to taste. I teamed it with a Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette which works well to bring out the best in both the roasted and the fresh ingredients of the salad.
Write your comment below: Have you ever tried making your potato salad with roasted potatoes instead of boiled potatoes? I’ve just discovered roasted potato salad, but maybe you’ve been doing it for years?
ROASTED POTATO AND GREEN BEAN SALAD WITH CAPERS AND OLIVES
(Serves 6-8 as a side dish)
1kg waxy potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces with the skin on
3 Tbsp EVOO plus 1 tsp coarse sea salt
200g green beans, ends trimmed off
2 Tbsp EVOO plus a pinch of coarse sea salt
3-4 scallions/spring onions, sliced into thin discs
1 and 1/2 Tbsp capers
12-15 good black olives
250g cherry tomatoes (about 20 pieces), cut in half
1 cup of chopped herbs (parsley, tarragon, basil)
6 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1/2 – 1 tsp coarse sea salt (according to taste)
1/4-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (according to taste)
- Preheat your oven to 200C/400F. You will roast your potatoes and your green beans in the oven in two separate dishes.
- Prepare your green beans by washing them, drying them with a kitchen towel, and then trimming the ends off. Cut the green beans in half because it will make them easier to eat in the salad. Toss them in an oven-proof dish (don’t use the same dish as the potatoes) with 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of coarse sea salt. Set them aside until the oven is hot.
- Prepare your potatoes by washing them well, drying them with a kitchen towel, and cutting them into 2-inch pieces (with the skin left on). Toss them in an oven-proof dish with 3 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tsp of coarse sea salt. Set them aside until the oven is hot.
- Once the oven is hot, put the potatoes and the green beans into the oven. The green beans will need to roast for about 20 minutes (stir them halfway through cooking). The potatoes will need to roast for 45-60 minutes (stir them halfway through cooking).
- When the green beans are done, remove them from the oven and set aside.
- When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and set aside.
- Prepare your salad dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients in a jar with a screw-top lid. Close the lid and shake well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the scallions/spring onions, cherry tomatoes and herbs. Thinly slice the spring onions into discs, cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and roughly chop the herbs. Set aside.
- Measure out your capers and olives, and set them aside.
- Get a large bowl to toss all the ingredients together. First pour most of the dressing into the bottom of the bowl (save a little to add at the end if necessary). Add the potatoes and green beans, and toss gently. Add the spring onions, tomatoes and herbs and gently fold them in. Taste and add more dressing if you want.
- Pour the salad onto a serving dish.
- Scatter the capers and olives on top.
- For a warm salad, serve immediately. For a room temperature salad, allow it to sit for a while. For a cold salad, allow it to cool and refrigerate it.
- Can be kept in the refrigerator for upto 3 days.