We spent our summers on the islands surrounding Vancouver and Vancouver Island. One thing that was always available in Howe Sound and parts of Georgia Strait was New Potatoes – cool early summers always gave us these in abundance. Now when I see the first new potatoes of the season at a farmer’s market, it is impossible for me to pass them up. They are always accompanied by sharp radishes and the beautiful pungent bunches of green onions.
On Gambier Island, Bowen Island, Cortez Island and Thetis Island and even family gatherings at Auntie Laura and Uncle Angus’ farm at Mt. Lehman, Mom could always make a salad that totally said “summer’s here”. Years later, we were about to have a family reunion at our farm on Thetis. Mom asked what she should bring – I answered swiftly with “your potato salad” – her response? “I don’t know how to make potato salad! “ This was one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s.
Every summer I love to make this salad – it rarely changes. Maybe a little more of this or a little more of that, but it is what it is. Here it is with all it’s lumps and bumps.
This makes enough for 8
3# new potatoes – try to buy uniform ones
1 bunch of radishes – leave behind any slightly wrinkled bunches
1 bunch of crisp green onions
3 eggs –
½ – ¾ c mayonnaise – I use “light”, just because I do – please don’t go into it! Use homemade or regular if you feel the need, just never use Miracle Whip. Mom never would have.
1T Dijon mustard – grainy or smooth (Mom probably used French’s prepared)
1 t paprika – Smoked Paprika is fabulous in this recipe
Salt & pepper to taste
Put the potatoes in a pot of salted, cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook until a knife easily pierces the center. While they’re cooking, nestle the eggs in and cook them for 10 – 12 minutes (depending on how big they are – free range will give your salad a much better colour). Remove the eggs and set aside to cool – they can even be put in the fridge. When the eggs are cool, peel and slice them.
When the potatoes are ready, drain them and set them aside until cool enough to handle.
While all this is happening, wash and trim the green onions and radishes.
Slice the radishes – no more than 1/4″ thick.
Chop up the green onions.
In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, paprika and mustard. (If I’m doubling this, or more, I may substitute sour cream for half the mayonnaise)
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into about 8 pieces per. Don’t bother peeling unless you absolutely feel the need.
Put them in a large bowl and let them dry somewhat.
Top with the radishes and onions, followed by the sliced eggs.
Toss all of this very gently with the dressing.
Season the salad with salt & pepper to taste.
Let rest in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Or if you don’t have a fridge, put it in the north side of wherever you are, in the shade.
There’s the basic formula – now here are some things I do to change it up a bit.
Celery – chop up 2 or 3 stalks
Parsley – a few big handfuls – chopped
Yams – use one not overly huge yam. Gently simmer until easily pierced with a knife. Drain, and let sit to dry a bit before peeling and cutting into pieces that are a similar size to the new potatoes.
That’s about it! Just think of lazy summer days in the cottages at Overbury, or a meal on the beach in amongst the logs at Cortes. Yes.