As I write this, the sun is shining. It is, I promise, streaming through my window like it will never stop, lifting everything it touches with hope and warmth. I feel the need to set this down in writing as some kind of proof, should the heavens open in the next few hours, that I didn’t imagine at least the beginnings of a perfect spring day.
Potato salad feels like a safe bet in these meteorologically uncertain times: if done properly, it is light and zingy, but still grounded by the potatoes themselves, and their creamy sauce. Forget those potato salads you find in supermarket tubs or deli buffets. Those may have their time and place, but this is an entirely different beast. This is a gorgeous salad: perfect for – dare I say it? – the first (brisk, brave) picnic of the year, but equally lovely alongside a roast chicken, or even eaten straight from the mixing bowl in front of the telly. We ate it alongside pan-fried mackerel and then packed neatly into Tupperwares to brighten the week’s lunches, but, frankly, it’s hard to imagine a dish it wouldn’t improve.
This version of the classic salad isn’t heavy with mayonnaise; instead, the mayonnaise is cut through with natural yoghurt and a teaspoon of dijon mustard. Dressing them whilst still warm, and cooling them afterwards, means that the sauce clings to the potatoes, just coating them, rather than drowning them or pooling at the bottom of the dish. It is bright and lively from the mint and the cornichons, but grounded by the dill. The pale pink of the radish is beautiful, but as well as being a visually pleasing addition, its peppery crunch against the soft, yielding potatoes is its main quality.
Makes: Serves four generously as a side
Takes: 15 minutes, plus chilling
Bakes: No time at all
1kg waxy new potatoes
2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh dill
2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh mint
2 tablespoons of chopped cornichons
4 tablespoons of finely sliced radish
150g natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1. First, boil your potatoes. Boil them for 8-12 minutes, until the potatoes are tender: a sharp knife should sink into the potato without any resistance at all. Drain the potatoes and leave to cool slightly.
2. Chop the herbs and cornichons, and slice the radishes as thinly as you can.
3. Mix the yoghurt, mayonnaise and dijon mustard together, and season with a little salt. Mix through the potatoes whilst still warm. Add the herbs, cornichons and all but a couple of the radish slices, and gently mix through the creamy potatoes. Allow to cool completely.
4. Just before serving, stir through the potatoes, and pile up proudly on a plate. Garnish with some of the remaining fresh radish slices, and any of the leftover herbs.