21 April 2011

Whole Potato Salad

In preparation for Easter guests, I was working on a menu. I bought some beautiful long beef ribs to slowly braise. I wanted a potato salad to serve with them, but given the substantial ribs I wanted a substantial potato salad. Quail eggs are one of my favorite ingredients and when I looked at them, I thought they would be nice whole in a salad. I decided on a traditional potato salad using whole ingredients.

I bought some baby potatoes and some pearl onions. I felt leaving the onion raw would make them too strong for this preparation, so I pickled the onions for 24 hours. A nice serving is about three or four small potatoes for each onion and quail egg.

I like celery in my potato salad, but I didn't want chunks of celery to detract from my whole ingredients so I finely chopped the celery to add to mayonnaise and a touch of mustard. Unfortunately, I forgot (or just failed to pay attention) to the amount of liquid given off by the chopped celery. When I put it in the mayonnaise, it made the sauce too watery and I was forced to start over!!

After assembling the salad, I found that the individual ingredients got a bit lost and I thought I would try plating the celery/mayo as a real "sauce" and placing the individual ingredients on top of the sauce so they were pronounced.

In this picture the potatoes appear to be baking russets, but I assure you they are not quite as big as they look. They are sitting on a tiny cup saucer and not a dinner plate. This plating, however, does allow one to use slightly larger potatoes which can be cut on a plate. (I suppose that had I plated it on long narrow plates I would have swished the sauce in a boldly abstract form and placed the whole item in order of size, clearly I have watched one too many Top Chef episodes.)

In the end, I decided to leave it mix into a nice bowl.

Per serving I use the following as a rule of thumb. A lot of it will depend on the size of the potatoes. Size does matter! 3 to 4 new or small potatoes; 1 quail egg; 1 pickled onion.

Whole Potato Salad

6 pearl onions
1/2 cup vinegar
24 small whole potatoes
6 quail eggs
2 stalks celery
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and trim the onions. In a small air-tight container or small jar, submerge the onions in the vinegar and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

In a saucepan, cover the whole potatoes, bring to a boil and cook till tender, about 10 minutes. allow to cool.

In another pan, cover the quail eggs with water and bring to a boil. Boil one minute and submerge in cold water. Peel the eggs. (There is no easy way to peel quail eggs!)

Finely chop the celery and drain on a paper towel to remove the excess moisture. Add the celery to the mayonnaise and mustard and stir till smooth.

Drain the pickled onions and add the onions, potatoes and eggs to the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.

As they say on Top Chef: Got Big or Go Home!

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