Mayonnaise is my enemy. It has been since I was old enough to eat solid foods. Something about the tangy smell and wiggle-prone texture of the white substance that lived in the ever-present jar in our fridge just grosses me out. And for that reason, I’ve spent the last 30ish years skipping politely over each and every potato salad that appeared on buffet tables and picnic spreads. And then, on a trip to Munich, I discovered the vinegar-laced joys of the German potato salad and it was off to the races.
Once I went Continental, I was hooked and I really started leaning into the delicious combo that is red wine vinegar and dijon mustard. And that lead me to what has become my holy trinity of potato salads: green onion, cornichons, capers. Suddenly we’re solidly in French territory. With that in mind, I decided to take this from a side dish (and don’t get me wrong here, a side dish is a perfectly noble role) into a warm, hearty meal by adding a poached egg. The barely liquid yolk mingles beautifully with the creamy potatoes and piquant dressing to create something so far from the mayo-addled tubs of my youth that it makes me practically cry with joy.
Scroll down to conjur some flavor-prompted tears of your own.
French Potato Salad
inspired by Smitten Kitchen
• 3 lbs. Yukon gold or red potatoes
• 1 large onion
• 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
• 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
• 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
• 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for roasting the potatoes
• 1 Tbsp capers, chopped
• 2 Tbsp cornichons, chopped
• 3 scallions, chopped
• salt and pepper
• eggs for poaching
2. Line a sheet pan with foil (this makes cleanup so easy) then add the potatoes and onions and drizzle generously with olive oil. Toss until each piece is coated then season generously with salt and pepper. Remember that potatoes always need a little more salt than you think.
3. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the onions are caramelized and the potatoes are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside.
4. While the potatoes cool a bit, make the dressing. Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar and both mustards. Add the capers, cornichons and scallions and mix well.
5. In a mixing bowl, drizzle the dressing over the warm potatoes and stir well to coat. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
6. Finish each serving with a perfectly poached egg.
The flavor only gets better the longer that it sits, which makes this an ideal candidate for leftovers. I love to keep a big bowl of this in the fridge so I can eat it for lunches and midnight snacks as the mood hits—if it lasts that long, that is. Bon appétit!