Fingerling potatoes salad with roasted mini sweet peppers
Here is a beautiful spring salad, full of vibrant colours and unexpected flavours and textures. What’s in it? Steamed creamy fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced crunchy radishes and red onion, roasted sweet mini peppers and a few briny olives. Tying them together is a creamy-tangy sherry vinaigrette and a sprinkling of parsley. This salad disappeared so quickly that I had no time to photograph it except for the little bit you see in the image.
The fingerling potatoes were new this week, finally something new. I have been checking the stores almost every day for signs of spring but the produce section still looks the same. I am waiting for beautiful globe artichokes and the (almost) local asparagus to transition my kitchen into a new season.
There is snow on the hills across the lake so it isn’t warm enough yet. This does not deter my husband who already has his beloved Isa Lei summarized and ready to sail. I have to start thinking about picnic lunches on the boat, a little soon for me though.
My rooftop garden it starting to show some green here and there. Another few weeks and I can begin planting herbs. I am not an experienced gardener. Before we moved here we always lived in the countryside and I loved it as it was, wild, beautiful and untamed. Any gardening would have been futile, as the wildlife would have devoured it. Those brazen and beautiful creatures, be it a deer or a fox, would climb up on the deck at Trail’s End and eat whatever they wanted. All the wide open acres around us were not enough, they wanted my flowers. It was part of what I loved about that place, sadly gone. Now that I have a rooftop garden I am becoming interested in a little gardening. There are hydrangeas and lilacs, lavender and tall grass swaying in the wind and a few evergreens to keep it alive in the winter. A gardener looks after the plants but I am in charge of the herbs (I always grew herbs, but at Trail’s End they were indoors). I plant a wide variety of herbs in the spring: thyme, rosemary, oregano, chervil, bay leaf, basil, chives, parsley, sorrel, sage, often several types of each. Some of them are sturdy enough to withstand the Canadian winter and come back the next year. I spread the herbs among other flowering plants so wherever I look on the patio I see herbs, their fragrance wafting toward me as I work outside. I love picking them fresh just outside my door, love the abundance in which they grow. They work their magic in so many of the dishes I cook in the summer, and make their way into my summer food photography. Not much longer to wait.
Back to the salad. Steam, peel and halve the fingerling potatoes and dress them while still warm. Roast the peppers whole with a light coating of olive oil. You can make the salad several hours in advance and keep refrigerated. Bring out of the fridge a while before serving and serve at room temperature. The peppers can be eaten as they are, whole, except of course the stem. This can be a warm side dish as well.
1 lb fingerling potatoes
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup black kallamata olives or another kind
A dozen or so mini red, yellow and orange peppers, whole
A handful chopped flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
A twist of the pepper grinder
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Place the mustard, salt, pepper and sherry vinegar in a glass or a bowl and mix well.
Drizzle the oil in slowly whisking constantly until blended and emulsified. Set aside until ready to use. You will have leftover dressing to use on a green salad.
Place the potatoes in a steamer pot and steam them, covered, until tender when pierced with a fork.
Remove and let cool until you can handle them, then cut each potato in half lengthwise and peel off the skin.
Pour enough of the dressing over the warm potatoes and stir gently, being careful not to break them. Set aside.
Place the peppers on a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and toss to coat them with the oil. Roast in a preheated 400F oven until they begin to turn golden and a little wrinkled. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Place the potatoes in a bowl, add the onion and olives and mix gently.
Add the parsley and mix it in. Taste for salt and pepper.
Add the peppers and transfer the salad to a serving plate or bowl.
Serve at room temperature.
The salad can be refrigerated and brought back to room temperature before serving. If you refrigerate it then leave the peppers sitting on top of the salad and mix them in just before serving.