Insalate di Patate

While I love classic American potato salad (or, even better, Bunk’s version with bacon), this Italian version is what I make at home most often. Start with either “semi-waxy” yellow potatoes or red or white varieties, but don’t use the “mealy” russets. You want the spuds to maintain their integrity and not fall apart too much. There should be some nice young potatoes at the market this week. A couple of pounds will make enough for dinner; use more for leftovers, which are worth having around.

Steaming seems to work best for even cooking without adding a lot of water; cook the potatoes whole until they’re easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Let them cool until you can handle them (after a couple of minutes, slice them in half to release some of the internal steam), then peel with your fingers and cut into fork-manageable but not too small chunks. Toss them while still hot with a generous splash (a few tablespoons or so) of Katz Sparkling Wine vinegar.

Chop a couple of shallots, and, if you’ve got any, some fresh oregano. Other fresh herbs, or even flat leaf parsley, can be substituted, but I don’t like dried herbs on this salad. Coarsely chop the couple of tablespoons worth of salt-packed capers that you’ve soaked and drained (although for a dish like this, which will need some salt, you could leave them salty; but add a bit at a time and taste carefully). Mix with the potatoes along with a half cup or more of extra virgin olive oil. Taste and add another splash of vinegar if necessary, and salt to taste.

If you can make this a few hours before eating and let it sit at room temp, even better. But sometimes you just can’t wait.