Happy 4th, everyone! I hope you are all barbecuing meat, grilling corn and drinking lots of beachside rosè. If you are, please have me in mind. I just started my new job as a pastry cook in Brooklyn (!!!) and our opening date is July 10th, so I’ve pretty much been working nonstop. No vacation for this gal.
But honestly, I can’t say I really mind! I’m already loving the work, the recipe testing and the vibes of our entire team and in addition to my bakery job, I’m also busy with shooting more videos and working on a couple of editorials. It’s all good stuff and as long as I’m doing what I love, I’m happy to work hard.
Still though, a nice country-side cookout would be nice. A couple of weekends every summer, my whole extended family gets together and barbecues. We usually include lots of seasonal vegetables and salads alongside juicy steaks and grilled chicken (I’m always advocating for smoked ribs but everyone’s all “ain’t nobody got time fo dat”- so sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t, but this is a nice oven version). We’re big fans of potato salad, and one of my aunts makes a really pretty, olive oil dressed version with tiny colored potatoes, but we’re always looking to change things up and this is my latest favorite.
Entirely French-inspired, it’s got roasted potatoes with a tiny bit of za’atar alongside crunchy radishes, quick roasted asparagus and mild scallions. The roasted potatoes and vegetables are tossed with tender lentils and a piquant, mustard-y, shallot flecked dressing, which takes minutes to whip up (I now keep a container of this in the fridge to have on hand- it’s good with everything!) and seeps into the still warm ingredients, lending intense flavor to the salad.
For all of you celebrating Independence Day, I hope you add this fresh and beautiful potato salad to your menu! I’ll be making this all summer long. I’d love to hear what interesting salads you add to your barbecues or how you update the classic mayo based potato salads.
Serves: around 6
Adapted and simplified from the The First Mess
Why I love this recipe: crispy roasted Yukon Gold potatoes are tossed with hearty lentils and a creamy and piquant, shallot flecked mustard dressing in this French inspired take on potato salad. Roasted asparagus and scallions add pops of color and freshness, radishes add excellent crunch and dill keeps things classic.
Notes: this salad is supposed to be served warm. If you plan on serving it cold, or think you’ll have lots of leftovers, I’d boil the potatoes instead of roasting them, as they get dry if they’re refrigerated after roasting. Just add the za’atar you’d roast them in to the dressing. Also- my grandmother has a great tip for boiling potatoes which is to cut and cube them before boiling- it’s faster, neater, and they keep their shape better. About the scallions: I don’t use the darker green tops. You can. If you aren’t, re-purpose them for something else!
For the dressing:
- 1 small shallot, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons white whine vinegar
- 5 tablespoons good olive oil
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
- 2 lbs mini Yukon Gold potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon za’atar spice
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup green lentils
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 15 spears of asparagus, chopped
- 2-3 radishes, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup fresh dill leaves, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut the potatoes into halves (and quarters if they’re a little bigger) and transfer them to a large baking sheet. Toss the potatoes with 1 ½ tablespoons of the olive oil, the za’atar, and salt + pepper to taste.
- Slide the potatoes into the oven and set a timer for 40 minutes.
- While the potatoes are roasting, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the minced shallot, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Set aside.
- Now, cook the lentils. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the lentils to the saucepan and simmer until just tender, about 18-20 minutes. Drain the lentils and transfer to a bowl. Toss the warm lentils with 2 tablespoons of the dressing, some salt and pepper, and set aside.
- Once the 40 minute timer on the potatoes rings, take the potatoes out of the oven and give them a toss. Push them over to one side of the baking sheet. Drop the asparagus and chopped scallions on the empty part of the baking sheet.
- Toss the asparagus and scallions with the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper. Slide the baking sheet back into the oven for 10 minutes, or until asparagus is bright green and tender.
- To serve, combine the potatoes, roasted vegetables, lentils, radishes, dill, and remaining vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season the salad with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.