Whoever said the potato is humble? There is nothing humble about the noble spud. Yes, it grows quietly underground, doing it’s tuber-thing. It doesn’t call attention to itself but does that make it humble? Nay, gentle reader. On the contrary. Picture a tiny new potato, boiled gently, sliced in half, a bit of the flesh spooned out and replaced with a dollop of black caviar and a lick of sour cream. Call that humble?
Or try vichyssoise. That’s vihsh–ee–SWAHZ, darling. The rich, creamy, potato and leek soup that’s served cold, and garnished with a fluttering of chopped chives. You say a bowl of pureed onions and potatoes? I say you’re a philistine.
The beauty of potatoes is that they can go all ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ one moment and down home comfort food the next. They are culinary chameleons. As it’s the Fourth of July (cue fireworks, burned burgers and dodgy hotdogs), we thought a green chile potato salad was in order. We’ve used small, new red potatoes, celery including the leaves, if you can find them, and shallots instead of onions.
Yes, slightly pretentious but we can live with that. What we can’t abide is anything humble, except for home of course.
Serves 5-6 as a side dish
1.25 lbs. potatoes, preferably new red potatoes but we won’t quibble
1 stalk of celery, diced, plus chopped celery leaves if you’ve got them
1 small banana shallot, finely minced
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 – 1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Hatch green chile powder, or more to taste
Rinse the potatoes, slice them in half and put them in a pan with water. Generously salt the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the potatoes are just tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, place the diced celery, celery leaves if you have them, minced shallot, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, olive oil and the Hatch green chile powder — basically the rest of the ingredient list Einstein — in a bowl. Combine. Drain the potatoes and while hot, add to the bowl. Give a firm but gentle stir (like you’re dealing with a slightly over excited five year old). Serve as is or at room temperature.