April 1, 2005
Potato Salad Puttanesca
Make this Italian-leaning salad in the early spring, when new potatoes first start making their appearance at local farmers’ markets. The recipe comes from Catherine Stanford, who has worked in property management at the Pike Place Market (www.pikeplacemarket.org) for over a decade. Such exposure has given her ready access to all sorts of fresh produce and specialty products, which has extended her passion for good cooking. Sometimes she even dreams of writing her own cookbook!
2 pounds whole tiny new potatoes, scrubbed
8 large sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
4 ounces (about 2/3 cup) kalamata olives, pits removed, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
2 hard-boiled large eggs, quartered, for garnish
6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (See Cook’s Hint below)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add potatoes, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or just until tender. Drain water, loosely cover potatoes with a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm and soak up excess water, cover pot, and reserve.
While potatoes are boiling, place sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl, cover with hot water, and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain tomatoes, discard water, mince, and reserve.
In a medium skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and cook garlic and onions 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened, stirring often.
Place onion in a medium mixing bowl along with the 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, capers, reserved sun-dried tomatoes, and olives. Mix well, then season to taste with salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes. Reserve dressing.
Cut warm potatoes into bite-sized pieces and add to a large mixing bowl. Toss gently with reserved dressing, being careful not to break up potatoes. Let salad rest 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature to allow flavors to meld, then divide among individual salad plates, garnish with quartered eggs, and sprinkle with basil. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate the salad, allowing it to come to room temperature before serving.
Cook’s Hint: To chiffonade, pull basil leaves from the stem, stack them neatly one on top of the other, and roll them tightly like a cigar. Using a very sharp knife, cut the leaves into thin slivers. Unroll the basil slivers and fluff.