Lunch Recipe: Kalamata Olive and Parsley Potato Salad

One of my favorite simple supper-to-lunch dishes is potato salad. It's good cold out of the fridge, and it blends well with other dinner leftovers like cooked pasta or shredded chicken or pork. And as good as old-fashioned, mayonnaise-laden potato salad can be, it's only the very beginning. There is such an interesting range of flavors and ideas for potato salad — and they're all good for lunch. Take this one, for instance. Not a hint of mayo, but tons of flavor.
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This is a simple potato salad — just a formula, really. But it was made extra-special with mixed fingerling potatoes that included some purple potatoes. They are so gorgeous when cooked — colorful, and unusual. They don't really taste any different than white potatoes, but their color jazzes up the table considerably!

This recipe does follow a few basic potato salad principles. I used the smallest, newest potatoes I could find, for best flavor. Also, the dressing is poured over while the potatoes are hot, and then everything is put away in the fridge for a few hours. In fact, potato salad is really best after at least a night in the fridge. This lets everything soak in and flavor the potatoes.

And finally, don't underestimate the amount of salt you will need. Potatoes just soak it up. Make sure to salt their boiling water generously, and add at least 2 teaspoons to the salad — then taste and see if needs more.

Olive and Parsley Potato Salad

serves 6 for dinner, with leftovers for lunch

3 pounds new or fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
12 ounce jar pitted Kalamata olives
4 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Small handful flat parsley, finely chopped

Bring a 4-quart (or larger) pot of water to boil over high heat. Stir in at least 1 tablespoon salt. Add the potatoes and bring back to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer the potatoes for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you make the dressing.

Cut the olives in half lengthwise (make sure to reserve their brine) and mix with the shallots in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and about 1/4 cup of the olive brine.

Quickly cut the potatoes into quarters. They should still be hot, so work carefully and quickly! Toss the potato quarters with the shallots and olives. Pour the dressing over, and toss with the lemon zest, salt, pepper, and parsley until well-combined.

Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

More potato salads:
Recipe: Mixed New Potato Salad with Sweet Basil and Shallots
Harvest Recipe: Miso Potato Salad with Yellow Wax Beans
10 Takes on Potato Salad
Recipe Roundup: Potato Salads with Bacon

(Images: Faith Durand)

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