potato salad with sherry mustard vinaigrette

1. Unrelated, off-topic and out-of-context, but when Alex and I came home (I was going to say stumbled up the stairs but it seems that joke isn’t funny — yet.) from our liver-pickling party on Saturday night, we found the most wonderful news in the mail, which is that we will be able to stay in our apartment another year. In fact, they’re barely raising our rent at all. Excuse me while I kiss the skylight. I’m sure most of you don’t know why it should be a Chrismukkah miracle that the hyper-trendification of west Chelsea over the last two years hasn’t priced us out to Ronkonkoma — yet — but considering the low-down, scummy process we were forced to wade through to get this place at all, I think I’ve lived in a fairly rightly-placed fear our time in this sunny apartment with the sunset view would be cut short. Just think: a whole ‘nother year for me to master those stairs. Eh. Also, my comedic timing.

2. More good things: Havalina on my iPod as I walked through Madison Square Park this afternoon. An attempt to return to the gym for the longest and most torturous 10 minutes on the recumbent bike, ever, only to realize that I had completely misread it and been on for 33, ohthankyoulawd. Picking up the delightful Donna Hay magazine for the very first time. A range of motion so rapidly improving I actually got my hair into a half-assed ponytail for the first time today. Consoling the sore shoulder that ensued, as well as falling prey to the Cyber Monday demons with some on-sale cashmere accessories. Finding a bundle of dried lanterns for less than $20 on the way home.

hee hee, fingerlings

3. An average thing: If I weren’t your loyal one-winged NaBloYeahYeah butler right now, there would have totally been some chicken dumplings for dinner tonight. We picked them up from the Russian store in Fair Lawn this weekend along with a gorgeous assortment of in-house cured “flat meats” and “round meats,” (what I named them when I was new there and didn’t know their names; I still don’t), assorted Russian candies and even a rare packet of instant yeast. (Yup, I actually had to leave the city to find it. I’m sure you’re mighty impressed with my perseverance.) Alas, boiled dumplings would have made for a dull evening for anyone but me, so I yanked this recipe off Epicurious before leaving work today. I am here to serve.

But, I probably wouldn’t serve you this, though Alex had little choice. Oh, it’s good, I mean lardons, Russian (sense a theme here? Oh well.) fingerlings, green onions, shallots, hard-boiled eggs and a Dijon-soused vinaigrette are hard not to find tasteful, I would just find a different recipe next time. First, roasting potatoes on a pile of salt seemed pointless, and covering them with foil just made them soft. I mean, either boil them for intentionally soft skins or roast them open for intentionally crispy ones, but this? Makes no sense. Second, their instructions to peel the potatoes after roasting them for an hour on the aforementioned pile of salt. I just ignored that ridiculous step. Third, I’m not sure why we needed both shallots and green onions; I love both but not sure why just one or the other wouldn’t do. Fourth, I admit a little resentment in picking up a bundle of fresh tarragon only to need half a teaspoon of it.

I’m going to start looking for some tarragon-demanding recipes now. I’ll post the potato salad recipe, too; it’s not bad, but I’m sure we can do much better.

fingerling potato salad

Fingerling Potato Salad with Sherry-Mustard Vinaigrette
Adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2006

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups coarse sea salt
2 pounds fingerling potatoes (such as Ruby Crescent or Russian Banana)

2 1/4-inch-thick slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips

2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced

For vinaigrette: Combine mustard and vinegar in small bowl. Whisk in oil, then herbs. Season with sea salt and pepper.

For potatoes: Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread sea salt in even layer on rimmed baking sheet; arrange potatoes over salt, spacing slightly apart. Cover sheet with foil and bake until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, uncover, and cool to lukewarm.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in medium skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Peel potatoes; cut in half lengthwise. Place warm potatoes in medium bowl. Add bacon, shallots, eggs, onions, and vinaigrette. Toss well and serve.

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19 comments on potato salad with sherry mustard vinaigrette

  1. Phc

    NYC isn’t under rent-control? I truly thought it was.

    In fact, I know of someone who lived in the building my dad grew up in from 1945 until 2004 or so and was paying like $400/ month or something. Of course, it was Queens, but still.

  2. Nell

    Now I’m hungry for pelmeni.

    Although I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in my house who would eat this, this looks pretty good to me — a wintry form of salad, and it is NOT turkey.
    I stumbled upon an Alton Brown recipe while looking for cooking times for fingerlings recently. It calls for dumping a whole bunch of salt in water with the potatoes, and bringing the water to a boil. The potatoes are supposed to cool on a rack, and this way a bit of a salt crust forms. It would seem to duplicate what this recipe is going for, but in half the time.

  3. I’ve seen that recipe, considered it, but thought that it might be too much for my husband to handle. He likes regular “man food” and the more fancy ingredients (this one with shallots and scallions would confuse the hell out of him) the more he complains. That is until he sinks his teeth into the first delicious bite and then stops complaining. Nell’s idea for the potatoes sounds like a good one.

  4. Maggie


    An off topic question for you…I’m looking to ask ‘Santa’ for some foodie magazine subscriptions this year. Since you’re my blogger fav, I’ve got to ask you…what would you recommend??

  5. Yvo

    Hooray for all the good things. I WISH NYC was rent controlled… I completely understand. I’ll be happy if they don’t raise the rent all that much so we’ll stay another year. It’s a while away, but… still.

  6. deb

    Phc – No, NYC is not under rent control, but you did lead me to do some research. (How very reporter-y of me!) Basically, rent control applies to buildings built before Feb. 1947 where the original tenant had lived there right through July 1971. Those are those super-low rents whispered about in the corridors but a mystery to anyone living here — mostly inhabited our parents and grandparent generation who will never leave. Their kids inevitably try to take over the leases, and well, I don’t have stats on it, but landlords spend a lot of money trying to kick them out and usually do. Rent Stabilization – higher rents, but limited in the amount they can be increased each round – is for buildings of 6 or more units (most of them) build before Feb. 1947 for people who moved in after June 1971, and whaddaya know, we fall under that. However, in 1993 a cap was put on stabilization of apartments whose rents go above $X, an amount we’ve managed to skim under for at least one more year. Barely. There’s also a clause about the rules not applying if the household rakes in more than $250K which is, ahem, not a concern. Woe is us.

    I apologize for boring everyone to tears.

    Nell – I am too, especially after a lackluster potato salad for dinner. I’ll have to dig up that Alton Brown recipe – it makes a whole lot more sense. In addition, Heidi a while ago salt-roasted some red potatoes that also looked endearing.

    Sophie – I’m glad I liked it because I was horrified to have coughed up $8 for it. Really, there are a million things I want to try but they’re all so springy. Then again, it was almost 60 yesterday so perhaps I’ll be auditioning some recipes sooner than later. Really, such a lovely magazine!

    Jessie – What, it’s got meat, it’s got potatoes, heck, it even has eggs! But, er, it’s just not that great. I’d keep looking!

    Maggie – Hehe. Well, it’s just personal preference, but I love me some Gourmet, also Food & Wine but I have a sweet friend who hooks me up with that one for free. I’m hoping Hanukah Harry brings me Cook’s Illustrated this year, I mean, I’ve only hinted ten thousand and one times. And finally, if you want a splurge ($96/year!) I only caught on to the greatness that is Donna Hay yesterday, but I’m hooked. It’s based in Australia, hence the steep price. Oh, and as we all know, I love me some Martha, but I only use her recipes sporadically. Mostly, I just fawn.

    Yvo – Check this out: It’s where I dug up all that info above. I didn’t read every word, but I know that if you fall under stabilization, they can only raise it *so* much every year. Still a bit, but reined in.

  7. I’ve roasted these fabulous little potatoes in olive oil, kosher salt, a bit of pepper and garlic, and they were great just like that. So, if you doctor this recipe, I’d love to hear about it!

  8. Since I’m a potato freak, this has absolute appeal for me!! beautiful.
    And I really would recommend you try roasting the potatoes in the salt. I do it over and over. It sounds nuts but it is so worth it.

  9. liz

    fyi re: rent decontrol — you only price out of rent stab at the $X cap IF your household has earned more than $175K for the prior 2 years. otherwise your rent is still governed by the annual percentages set by the rent guidelines board (

    also, if one is rent stab, it’s good to read up on the laws; there are all sorts of good protections in addition to the limited increases – e.g., you can get your apt painted every 3 yrs; mandatory lease renewals; etc.

    sorry to geek up your comments, but i practice housing law & like to make sure nyc tenants know their rights! :)

  10. I’ve started using this vinaigrette on simple boiled new potatoes for Shabbat. They are so good I can’t help but pick them up with the my fingers right after making them and shoving them in my face. I genuinely look forward to this all week. Thanks again Deb. Shabbat Shalom!

  11. joy

    This is about five years too late, but I know of an amazing use for your extra tarragon. You can make chakapuli, a Georgian stew of lamb chops (or veal) with tarragon, onions, white wine, and tkemali (sour plum sauce, sold in Russian stores in NY & NJ). Darra Goldstein’s recipe in “The Georgian Table” is excellent. For inspiration, schlep thee to Tbilisi on Kings Highway, which has the best chakapuli of any of the Georgian places in Brooklyn.

  12. Korinne

    Is there a reason you use canola oil instead of olive oil here? Just curious.

    Also, why roast on a bed of salt instead of rubbing with olive oil and salt? I haven’t tried this method before, but it seems like a lot of salt to waste..

    Thanks for everything you do! i <3 smitten kitchen!

    1. deb

      The salt is supposed to make a creamier potato; it’s a specific cooking technique (salt-roasting). The canola oil is just what the original recipe called for and I went with it. I’d definitely just use olive oil instead today.