Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day Potato Salad

Today is American Iindependence day. For our celebratory picnic, I made a 'french style' potato salad. Why French? In my opinion, without the ready assistance of the French (including Lafayette) and others (including genius battlements engineer Thaddeus Kosiuszko), the United States may not have been able to break free of the mother country. Of course, the americans had to want it bad enough to fight. Hard. Without blood and sweat from the famous and obscure Americans, the United States would simply not have been formed. Today I remind myself that american independence was not a 'given' back in 1776. At the time the Declaration of Independence was written, half of American colonists were still loyal to Britain. Those who wanted independence wanted it badly enough to stake their lives and fortunes on it's successful outcome.

Our country still operates on ideals that are emulated by and envied by many in the world today. May we americans always be worthy -- in our actions, thoughts, and aspirations -- of the ideals and actions of our forefathers and foremothers.

So again, chapeaus off to the French, for helping us out back in the 1770s (and later, when we fought the British again in the early 1800s). To honor the French contribution to American Independence, I made today an adaptation of what Julia Child calls a "French Style" potato salad.

This is a simple recipe, and I'll share it here, but credit Julia for the inspiration. First, you have to start with the best possible ingredients, as this is a simple recipe and the quality of the ingredients "make" the meal.I bought some new potatoes (by "new" potatoes, I mean those of this season, freshly dug) last Thursday from a farmer who is in Philadelphia every week. I've mentioned him earlier here, and he and his mom, and sometimes others, are in Suburban Station (SEPTA) every Thursday.

These potatoes, and some fresh garlic chives and parsley from my garden, along with some red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and good quality olive oil are all I needed.
"Thank the French" Independence Day Potato Salad

8 to 10 ounces new redskin potatoes
1 teaspoon salt (plus more if needed)
a few grinds of pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (more or less)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped parsley (or less if you don't like this herb as much as I do)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic chives (or anything from the allium family -use your judgement)

Wash potatoes well, scrub a bit under running water. Cut into 1/4 inch slices (do not peel).

Boil for about 10 minutes (maybe less ) in salted water. Drain. Retain about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Put that and the potatoes back in the cooking pan. Let sit for about 5 minutes, covered.

Take potatoes and water out, and put in large mixing bowl. Lightly mix in vinegar herbs and pepper. Let sit at room temperature another 10 minutes (Covered). Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed. Add olive oil. Toss. Let cool. Transfer to refrigerator. Ready to serve in 2 hours.

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