“One cannot help wondering if an English salad is the results of ignorance or the aim of curiously perverted taste…. The French I am told, have many failings, but they can make wine, coffee and salads.”
Thus aphorises X Marcel Boulestin at the start of the salad chapter in Simple French Cooking for English Homes (of which Quadrille were kind enough to send us a copy). The book is a brisk but thorough canter through French home, as opposed to restaurant cooking, meaning it is full of recipes which are damn French but mostly require about 6 ingredients and are compatible with full-time employment. There are sections on sauces, soups, meat, vegetables and a few puddings (on obtient du pain dans les boulangeries, oui?), as well as hilariously didactic final chapter on wine. Salads includes details on the best way to mix dressing as well as recipes of of raw and cooked vegetables, fish and beef.
I don’t think I’ve ever had potato salad made with a oil-vinegar dressing and I don’t like the usual mayonnaise version, (too mayonnaise-y). I had high hopes, as another potato-based recipe from the same book had gone well.
Salade de Pommes de terre
When your potatoes are cold (the best kind for this is the long yellow kind), cut them in thin slices. Dress with oil and vinegar, pepper and salt, mustard, onion and parsley chopped (or shallots and chervil).
Salade de pommes de terre aux piments
Prepare as before, and add one-third of slices pimentos or sweet red peppers. Add a few chopped gherkins.
Foolproof, although I didn’t have any gherkins and the lid seemed to have welded itself to my jar of capers, which I had thought of using as a substitute.
A lovely summer dish – easy to cook for one (which I did, using 4 small potatoes and half a pepper) or multiply for a larger household or number of guests. The mix of sharp dressing and warm peppers with mild potato was very pleasing and I was very happy to eat this with some grilled lamb.
Dressed by Elly