Saturday, May 23, 2009

150. Potato and Thyme Salad (p. 148)

I made this potato salad as part of the lunch buffet for my son's dedication ceremony celebration on Mother's day. I was looking for an easy, make-ahead side dish that would go with the marinated turkey breast that I was making, and that would work with my wife's current dietary restrictions (no dairy, soy or wheat). This fit the bill.

The Book says that this is "no suburban backyard potato salad." Instead, this recipe,* which comes from the Ballymaloe Cooking School in Ireland, is simple, understated and totally unfussy. It's so simple that there are only three ingredients: small red boiling potatoes, fresh thyme leaves, and olive oil (plus salt and pepper to taste).

First, I washed and dried some fresh thyme. I plucked the leaves and buds off the woody sprigs. This what kind of tedious, but not too hard since you can sort of zip the leaves off the sprigs by running your fingers against the direction that the leaves grow. Once I had gathered a respectable amount of leaves, I put them in a little bowl and set them aside.

Next, onto the potatoes. I washed them well and put them (whole) into a pot of salted water. The Book says to cook the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes until "just tender." I've had my fair share of undercooked potatoes (they're pretty much inedible) so, I made sure that they were good and tender. In retrospect, I wish that I had taken them off the heat just a little bit sooner, since what you're looking for here are potatoes that are cooked, but still just the slightest bit on the firm side.

After the potatoes had cooled just a bit, I cut them into quarters, sprinkled them with the thyme leaves, drizzled on the oil and tossed to coat. I seasoned it with some salt and pepper, and that was it.

My wife didn't like this dish at all. She called it "the worst potato salad I've ever had," and demanded that I give it a "C" rating. (Geez, tell me how you really feel.) I didn't have quite as negative reaction to this recipe. I just thought that it was kind of "meh." I suppose that "understated" and "boring" are two ways to look at the same thing.

(Oh, by the way, in all of the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the lunch, I forgot to take a picture of this dish. The photo at the top of this post comes from Teena's blog. I hope she doesn't mind me borrowing her picure ... because I'm going to do it again with my next post, too.)

Date Cooked: May 9, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Very easy
Rating: B-

* This recipe is not on


Melissa Bach Palladino said...

Ha! I think I actually undercooked the potatoes when I made this salad and as I recall I was very upset about it.

Teena said...

Yes, of course you are welcome to borrow my photos!