Monday, June 13, 2011

Potato Salad with Whole-Lemon Vinaigrette

When I read blog posts bashing traditional mayonnaise-based potato salad, it makes me sad, because when I summon my happy potato salad memories (we all have these, right?), the first to come to mind are those involving my grandma's salad, dressed in all its creamy goodness. In fact, maybe if you asked, perhaps you'd find out that sometimes I even thought the salad could've used more mayo, but no, I would never openly admit to that, at least not here, because it might leak back to my grandma and then I'd have some serious explaining to do.

So why then, after saying all that, am I posting a non-mayo recipe? Because when I read in the recipe that you throw a whole lemon into the food processor, I thought, "awesome", and kind of stared off into space thinking about it. I know it's just a lemon, but it sounded like a misprint to me, as if the recipe were asking me to throw in an entire watermelon, or something equally absurd. Surely, I thought, the recipe means I have to zest then juice the lemon. But no, I could find no small print or footnotes or hidden messages to be decoded with my decoder ring saying the contrary.

So it is because I became obsessed with food processing that lemon that you are now reading this post. And this is a good thing for a few reasons. The most important being that I really enjoyed this salad, but also, because a holiday that screams for backyard parties which themselves scream for potato salad is coming upon us, and while I'm not trying to tell you what to do, I'll just mention that this salad actually tastes best at room temperature and won't need to be thrown out after you forget to refresh the ice it's been sitting in out on the backyard picnic table.

Potato Salad with Whole-Lemon Vinaigrette

So, after luring you here with talk of throwing a whole lemon into the food processor, I'll admit that you do first have to cut it into quarters, or whatever size is necessary, so that the seeds can be removed. It does take some of the fun away, but it's a step I wouldn't recommend skipping. Sorry.

3 pounds large Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled
1 whole lemon
2/3 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic
1/4 fresh mint
sliced scallions (optional)

1) Scrub potatoes and place in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a rapid boil, then lower heat and cook until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Drain well under cold water and refrigerate overnight, or until very cold.

2) Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in large bowl.

3) Cut off ends of lemon and cut into quarters to remove seeds. Place lemon wedges (rind and all) in a food processor with olive oil and garlic. Process several minutes until smooth. Add salt to taste.

4) Pour dressing over potatoes and toss gently. Salt and pepper to taste.

5) Thinly slice the mint, or pulse a few times in the food processor and toss with the potatoes. Toss in some scallions if desired.


  1. I must try this for David. He HATES potato salad because of the mayo (ok, he HATES mayo!!!!) so I will have to try this this summer and see if I can't win him over to potato salad--something I love! :)

  2. I hope this wins David over to non-mayo potato salad! I'm with you, though, I LOVE potato salad :-)

  3. Yep, I'm making this Friday...and maybe leftovers on Saturday...and serving again at book club on Sunday... that is, of course, if you're not bringing it. :)

  4. Jennica - still not sure what I'm bringing, but I'll let you know soon. I hope your dinner Friday turns out great!