Ever since my trip to Sweden, I've been reminded of the beauty of a perfectly cooked potato. It's something you really take for granted. In lots of recipes, the meager potato gets haphazardly prepared in many ways and coated in stuff...so we lose sight of the toothsome bite of a spot-on spud. The folks in Scandinavia know their potatoes and they're so well versed at cooking them that they barely needed a thing. A little salt, maybe a bit of butter, some fresh herbs and - more often than not - they were a divine side during many a meal.
I was transported back to those meals in Stockholm when we recently dined at City House in Nashville, Tennessee. If you're ever there, do pay City House a visit. Alongside my sweetie's monstrous pork burger-biscuit hybrid was a spoonful of the most perfect potato salad I've ever had. Not bogged down in a lot of mayonnaise, it was tangy and flavorful and surprisingly light. Even once the towel was thrown in on the burger, everyone at the table was picking at the side dish. I came back home and had to recreate it.
The key here is the balance between a grainy mustard and a healthy dollop of prepared horseradish. In an effort to add a little saltiness and interest to the dish at the same time, I thinly sliced some cornichons and added them to the mix. It was a nice little crunch here and there with the perfectly soft potatoes, which I cook following Alton Brown's recipe. They turn out brilliantly every time. This is a great recipe to improve on - add some bacon, whichever fresh herbs you have on hand, some thinly sliced red onion...or you could leave it as is and let the potatoes shine.
Mustard-Horseradish Potato Salad - serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
- 1 pound small new potatoes, skins washed and cut into even halves or quarters - you want your potato pieces to be even so they cook evenly
- 2 tsp. good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 2 tablespoons good quality stone ground mustard
- 20 cornichons, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped chives - feel free to substitute any other herb you'd like
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard and horseradish. Set aside until potatoes are cooked and cooled slightly.- Place cut potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with cold water so that the potatoes are covered by an inch of water. Salt the water and bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 7-8 minutes. Once they're fork tender, drain and place in a large mixing bowl. Allow them to cool slightly and toss with the mustard/horseradish mixture while still slightly warm - this will let them absorb some of the dressing. Gently fold in the cornichons, fresh herbs, and salt & pepper the potato salad to taste. Serve immediately. If you chill this potato salad, bring to room temperature, drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil to re-wet the mixture, mix thoroughly and serve.