Who doesn't love potato salad? It is one of my favourite salads, and this time I was more adventurous with it than I usually am. I had a fridge full of bits and pieces from a Greek salad...half a red pepper, some feta cheese, a handful of grape tomatoes and some olive brine. I ran with the Mediterranean theme and added artichoke hearts, basil and sundried tomatoes, and was very happy that I did.
Instead of using plain mayonnaise, I made an aioli, using the brine from the olives. It was a red wine and herb brine, so had a lot more flavour than just a plain salt brine. Grainy mustard added crunch and heat, and there is enough left to make another meal (I see chicken salad sandwhiches in our immediate future).
The fluffy, bland potato is a perfect showcase for all of the strong flavours in the salad, and absorbed the aioli as the potatoes were still slightly warm.
To make the aioli, combine the following in a medium sized bowl:
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive brine (mine was a red wine brine)
Whisk to combine.
Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle olive oil into the bowl. The slower you pour the oil the thicker your aioli will be. You will need:
1- 1 1/2 cups olive oil
The aioli is thick enough when it is the consistency of mayonnaise, and holds a peak when lifted with the whisk.
Add the flavourings:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice or more olive brine to taste
Cover and refrigerate while you prep the vegetables.
Peel and dice:
1 large russet potato
Cook in lightly salted water until the potato is just tender. Drain, and leave in the strainer for 5 minutes to allow the potatoes to cool.
Place the potatoes into a large bowl.
Chop the fresh vegetables:
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
a large handful of grape tomatoes, halved
2 artichoke hearts, cut into 8
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a nonstick pan and add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook over medium high heat, stirring often until the vegetables are just heated through.
Remove from the heat.
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and thinly sliced
Add the cooked vegetables to the potatoes, and gently mix to combine.
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Grainy mustard aioli...add this according to your preference
Mix gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Mix gently to combine.
Serve the salad immediately, at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers for another meal. I served mine with steamed green beans and baked sole fillets.
- Aioli is a garlic mayonnaise. Purchased mayonnaise can be used; add the flavourings to the amount you need.
- The aioli can be made in a food processor, or using a hand blender. I used a whisk as the amount is small.
- If you find the taste of all olive oil in your aioli to be too strong, use part vegetable oil.
- Lemon juice is a good substitute for the olive brine.
- If you have olives, add them to the salad...I only had the brine left.
- By allowing the potatoes to cool to just above room temperature, they will absorb some of the aioli, and not just be coated by it. Serve it as soon as it is made, but refrigerate the remaining salad, as the aioli cannot sit at room temperature due to the egg yolk.
- Leftover aioli can be used for chicken or shrimp salad, sandwhiches, turned into a tartar sauce for fish or used in any other application requiring mayonnaise. It will keep in the fridge for about 5 days, well sealed.
- Other vegetables that can be added or substituted are corn, capers, cooked sweet potato, green peas or thinly sliced fresh spinach.
- Any type of potato can be used...I only had russet.