8.17.2012

What's what

You guys are something else.  I say, “Give me a radish recipe,” you say, “How many?”  Slaws, ceviche, butters, tartines; pickles and salads with citrus and seeds; radishes braised, radishes roasted, radishes plattered and sautéed and souped.  You people are radish geniuses!  I’ve been digging my way through your recipes for the better part of two weeks, and let me tell you, life is good on the other side of all those radishes.  I’ve got a song in my heart, and it’s thanks to you.  The current contents of my belly are also thanks to you, in particular, to a reader named Chelsea who has a thing for radishes in her potato salad.  I’ve got that thing now, too, and today, I pass it to you.


I mentioned last time that I do radishes in egg salad, and this recipe’s a close cousin – the one whose mom let her sponge paint her bedroom walls when you were kids, who pulls off bright red shoes beneath her wedding dress, and always knows what’s what, the one you want to be around all the time.  I gave the potatoes top billing in the title of this recipe, but it’s as much about the eggs, four of them, hard boiled and cut into wedges so big you can stick a fork through them without even aiming.  Instead of mayonnaise, I made a mustardy vinaigrette (a simplified, scaled down version of the one I wrote about here).  Next came the radishes and finally, pickles, an inspired addition that I picked up from my friend, Sarah, the last time I was home in Ohio.  (Happiness is handing over your babe to the nearest grandparent, pulling a cottage cheese container from the fridge, and finding Sarah’s potato salad inside.)  This potato salad is Eli approved, and that’s saying something given that the kindest descriptor of potato salad I’ve ever heard him utter is “monochromatic.”  (On the potato salad of his youth: “Why would you put that in your mouth?”)  But the guy must trust me, because when I offered him a taste on the morning I made this salad, he accepted.  Then, he ate it for breakfast.  And that’s really saying something given how seriously this man takes his consumption of cold cereal and milk on your average weekday morning.  (Very seriously.)  We have ourselves a keeper. 

Potato-Egg Salad with Pickles and Radishes

I wasn’t going to include the egg boiling in this recipe (we all have our ways, I assume) but since a friend of mine recently asked me how I get my yolks just so, I went ahead and put it in.  (This is for you, S!)  Feel free to do it your way, of course. I’ve been thinking that, in addition to parsley, some tarragon might be nice here.  But it’s great with parsley alone.

For the salad:
1 pound of small pink potatoes
4 large not-so-fresh eggs (old eggs are easier to peel)
6-8 radishes (depending on how big your radishes are; I used 8 little guys)
1 sour pickle (mine was about 4 inches in length and an inch and a half wide, from Gus’s.)
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
A pinch of salt
A few grinds of black pepper

Boil the eggs:  Put the eggs in a pot large enough so that they lie in a single layer.  Cover them with cold water by about an inch.  Bring to a boil, and when you get your very first serious bubbles – not just those little beads that float upwards to the surface – immediately remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly 9 minutes.  That’s how long it takes, I find, to get your yolks fully cooked but not chalky or dry.  Watch the clock and prepare an ice bath so that when your nine minutes are up, you can lift the eggs from the pot with a slotted spoon or tongs and drop them in.  Let the eggs cool completely before peeling.  This might be my imagination, but when I boil my eggs a day in advance and wait to peel them, the shells practically push themselves away from the whites.  (Except for when they don’t.  Ugly eggs are still delicious.)

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes:  Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so that the water just simmers.  Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender.  It’s not as crucial for the potatoes to stop cooking immediately, so I usually just drain them and run them under cool tap water for a minute. 

Make the dressing (while the eggs and potatoes are cooking):  Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Do your cutting and dicing:  Peel the eggs, and cut each one into eight pieces.  I do this by cutting the eggs in half around their middles (not lengthwise), then cutting each half into four pieces.  Quarter your potatoes.  Dice the pickle and radishes into cubes still big enough to really crunch.  I like mine the size of (square-ish) Tic Tacs

Assemble:  Give the dressing another quick whisk, then add the heartiest players, the radish and the pickle, to the bowl.  Stir to coat them in the dressing.  Add the potatoes and push them around until they are also nicely dressed.  Finally, add the chopped parsley and the eggs and gently fold them into the salad.  I use a couple of silicone spatulas for the job and give the salad just a few light tosses. 

Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Serves 4 as a main event, 6 as a side.  

6 comments:

Amanda said...

Love it! Oh, the recipe, yes, and the plethora of radish recipes. But also, that you compared the size of a dice to tic-tacs. A little weird, as it conjures up memories of the odd-sweet aftertaste of tic-tac orange, but the point is--genius--I know exactly what size you mean. Thanks.

jacqui | happyjackeats said...

I fully support this salad. If it came with a button, I'd totally wear it.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Well, now you've got me thinking! Up until now I haven't given radishes a lot of thought. Like them well enough when I have them, but I don't seek them out. Must look into this. Hmmm ...

Hannah said...

If it can get Eli-rhymes-with-jelly away from his cereal perhaps it can get my guys away from their oatmeal? Or maybe I'll just try it for lunch. I have long wondered why more people don't do egg-potato salads - seems like such a natural. There is a little smoothie shop in Princeton that makes a few deli salads and things, and they have a chicken salad very similar to this (weird right?) - mustardy and vinegary with flecks of sour pickle, but it also has, depending on the time of year, apples or grapes. Not sure how they'd go here but has me wondering ... Anyway, when I see it written out, I can see how radishes make a perfect, crisp-spicy sub for celery! Of course! Brilliant. ~ ~ Also brilliant: I clicked through to Chelsea's blog, and am now anxiously awaiting her next posting. So thanks for that :)

Jess said...

Amanda - And I know just the Tic Tac aftertaste you mean! Memories... Ha!

Jacqui - You WOULD. xo

Jean - Radishes do so often fly under the radar, don't they? They shine in this salad, though. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Hannah - My dad puts chopped egg in tuna salad, which I've always thought is brilliant. Egg in potato salad is especially nice, I think; you've got your protein, which means you're allowed to call it a meal. Uh, right...?

shornrapunzel said...

I'm so glad the radishes in potato salad tickled your taste bud fancy! And thank you for the mention and the link to my humble little internet home.

- chelsea