Potato (Plus) Salad with Champagne-Honeydew Mignonette

By • June 19, 2011 • 16 Comments



Author Notes: I've prepared a few variations on this combination over the past 2 or 3 years, largely for catered events, such as summer weddings. Sometimes I'll add some roasted red peppers for color, or leave them out if they're against the law for anyone. Grilled asparagus makes a nice stand-in for the green beans, but its affordable season tends to be brief, especially where I am now. The same goes for grilled artichoke hearts - fantastic, but short affordable season, even to the wholesale trade. In the end, there's something here for everyone.

Especially me. I make my very own version to please myself year-round. It travels well, it holds beautifully in the refrigerator as well as on a picnic blanket. Serve it by itself as a side. Wrap it in leaves of sweet butter lettuce and serve alongside slices of proscuitto or heavenly cured ham à la thirschfeld (http://www.bonafidefarmfood.com/http___www.bonafidefarmfood.com/Bona_fide_Farm_Food/Bona_fide_Farm_Food.html) . With barbecued brisket sandwiches, oh my yes. And I'd love to come along, thanks for the invite.

Its beauty as a picnic or camping or backyard bbq salad is that not only is it safe to serve without constant refrigeration, but also its flavors are genuinely better at room or outdoor temperatures. The combination of gently tart champagne vinegar and honeydew in the mignonette highlights the brightness of all the flavors. The entire salad can certainly be prepared a day in advance. In fact it will probably be better if it is.

This is for my sweet Greek friend, Madeleine, who graciously shared her San Francisco home with me, and who every summer brought me an enormous tin (and I mean enormous, like 2 feet tall and 12 inches wide) of fresh Feta cheese in its delicate brine, straight from the motherland. I never ran out of opportunities to incorporate it into foods, nor of people who loved it. And I'll never forget hearing you pronounce Kalama-tttt-a.
boulangere

Serves 10, or fewer with leftovers

  • 3 pounds red or Yukon gold, or fingerling potatoes, well washed
  • 1 tablespoon sea or kosher salt
  • 1 pound French style green beans
  • 1 red onion, fine dice
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, rough chopped
  • 1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 ounces champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup puréed honeydew melon
  • 2 shallots, minced ( 3 if they're small)
  • 1 generous tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
  • Sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  1. Cut the potatoes into 1/2" cubes, no smaller. Place them in a pot with cold water to cover and add a tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to an active simmer. Cook just until they can be easily pierced with a sharp knife, about 10-15 minutes. Drain into a colander, then set the colander in your original pan and place both under cold running water, gently moving the potatoes around with your hands until they are completely cool through to the center. Remove the colander, and leave the potatoes to continue draining. When finished, transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Retain the colander for the beans.
  2. Refill the same pot with water and bring to a boil. While waiting, wash your beans. Set a bowl of ice water right next to the stove. When the water comes to a boil, add the beans all at once. As soon as the water returns to the boil, set a timer for 2 minutes. You only want to blanch the beans long enough to break down a bit of their toughness, but not their wonderful crunch. After 2 minutes, use tongs to lift the beans out of the pot and drop into the ice water. Let them cool completely through. When ready, transfer them to the colander in the sink and allow to drain.
  3. Meanwhile, dice the red onion and add it to the bowl containing the potatoes. Chop the green beans into 2-inch lengths and add them to the same bowl. Drain and roughly chop the Kalamatas and add them also. Add the Feta cheese. Gently toss to blend using a rubber spatula.
  4. Using a mortar and pestle (a wooden one works best), pound the chunks of melon to a juicy pulp. Alternatively, dice them very fine with a knife, then smash on your board using a fork. Transfer every bit of pulp and juice to a small bowl. Add the champagne vinegar, shallots, tarragon, salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Whisk to blend, pour over salad contents and gently toss together. Allow salad to sit for 15 minutes, then gently toss once more. Let sit for 15 minutes more, toss again, and taste for seasoning, adjusting as you wish. Refrigerate until ready to pack up and go. Don't be surprised if you find yourself dipping into it for *just one more taste.*
Jump to Comments (16)

Tags: herbs, potato salad, potatoes , shallots, Vegan, Vegetarian

Comments (16) Questions (0)

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almost 2 years ago MaureenOnTheCape

Add my voice to the chorus of praise for this light and delicious summer salad. And thank you many times over boulangere for the primer on mignonette. I will use my new knowledge all over the wonderful world of vegetables..

Dscn2212

almost 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

How lovely of you to write, mgreentv5, and I am so glad you've enjoyed it. Thank you kindly.

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

Oh, my, this is utterly delectable.Love the melon in it; have everything on hand (but will be using asparagus) tonight!

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

It's wonderful with asparagus!

Gator_cake

about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I'm totally intrigued by the honeydew addition. It seems like a brilliant idea. Hat's off to you, boulangere!

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you! It gives it a bright, summery flavor and just takes the edge off the vinegar.

Dsc_0675-x2a

about 3 years ago Sagegreen

This looks so good! Funny I had hami melon in my beef salad tonight for dinner!

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Love the many melon flavors. Your salad combination sounds wonderful.

3-bizcard

about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Honeydew, now thats so creative. This salad has to be so wonderful. I'm wowed! Gorgeous photo too.

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

It keeps the salad light, and just takes the edge off the vinegar without being a strong presence of its own. I love the lightness of the mignonette for summer, with no oil to give it a heaviness.

3-bizcard

about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Me too I never knew what a mignonette was before this. I love the idea and adding the melon balances the acid in the vinegar. Really brilliant.

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh play around with it - it's so great for summer.

3-bizcard

about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

In my opinion its perfect with the potato and green beans as a general rule I think potato is heavy and such a light dressing goes so well. Will there be a picture?

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Absolutely! Tomorrow afternoon. It's hammering down rain at the moment, which is kind of fortuitous, as it gives the salad overnight to blend its flavors.

3-bizcard

about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Green beans and potato are such a delicious combo. the dressing with the tarragon is so wonderful. Love this salad! Never heard of a mignonette is it that there is no oil in the dressing?

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You are correct - no oil in a mignonette, and it is most always characterized by the presence of shallots and some kind of gentle vinegar, usually a white one. It results in a very light dressing, often used as a dip for shellfish, commonly oysters. But, heck, the box was invented so we could think outside it. I like to use a mignonette (translation: cute and little) with vegetables and salad during the summer for their very properties of lightness - no oil of any kind to weigh down flavors or textures.