Have I ever mentioned my love of simple potato salads? Oh, yes, I have! Seriously, I hope I don't sound like a broken record, but simple yet fresh potato salads are one of the best summer side dishes. They can even double as lunch or dinner, especially with a little shredded chicken thrown in. This is yet one more quick potato salad, a warm hash of potatoes, shallots, and cumin — there's only about six main ingredients, but it tastes so deliciously toasty and complex!
I was inspired by Indian dishes, of course, when creating this salad. I really love whole toasted cumin seeds. It sounds as if they might be too strong (whole spices?) but in this salad, after being fried in oil, they just have a nutty, toasty crunch.
This comes together fast — just chop and boil potatoes, and chop up the cilantro and shallots while they are cooking. Toss in the hot oil and cumin, and a squeeze of lemon, and presto — a warm, pleasantly spiced side dish that is much more than the sum of its parts.
It just gets better after a night in the refrigerator, too!
Warm Potato Salad with Cilantro & Toasted Cuminserves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 pounds red potatoes, chopped into roughly 2-inch pieces
1 bunch cilantro, stems trimmed and removed
3 large shallots
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons whole cumin
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Add the diced potatoes and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are tender but not yet mush. Drain and return to the pot.
Chop the cilantro roughly and stir it into the hot potatoes. Slice the shallots thinly and stir them in too.
Pour the olive oil oil into a small skillet and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is quite hot, stir in the 1 1/2 tablespoons of whole cumin seeds. Cook for about 45 seconds, stirring frequently, until the cumin and oil smell toasty and the cumin has darkened slightly. Pour the contents of the skillet over the potatoes (watch out, as some of the seeds may pop as they hit the cooler pan). Stir thoroughly.
Juice the 1/2 lemon and stir the juice in as well. Season to taste with black pepper, and any additional salt, if needed. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.
(Images: Faith Durand)