Salad shouldn't be an obligation or an afterthought—and it doesn't always have to be kale, either. Every other Thursday, Elizabeth Stark from Brooklyn Supper will help you make salads you actually want to eat.
Today: The recipe you need to transform potato salad from obligatory barbecue guest into the life of the party.
The fading blossoms on the dogwood trees announce the imminence of grilling season. It's time to buy bulk bags of charcoal, work out a couple of cocktail recipes that really feel right when you've got a pair of tongs in the other hand, and, most importantly, tighten up your potato salad game. Typically, potato salad is in the weird position of being simultaneously ubiquitous and invisible. As a society, we've agreed it needs to be there, but only as a sidekick to burgers, dogs, watermelon, and corn on the cob. Happily, it only takes a few tweaks make potato salad the cookout guest you're glad to see instead of that one you kinda had to invite.
More: When you learn to make it without a recipe, potato salad can be anything you want it to be.
I find the most fantastic early season potato salads are made with roasted potatoes rather than boiled ones. This isn't the deeply chilled salad we'll be craving later in the year—this one's warm and smoky, with crispy roasted potatoes and sunchokes, tender roasted asparagus, and a gentle wallop from pungent, of-the-moment ramps. Lemons suffuse everything with just the right amount of tang, and anchovies lend a je ne sais quoi (mais je l'aime).
Though roasted potatoes are just fine after a long stint in the oven, I've found that parboiling yields deliciously crisp edges and a light, pillowy interior. Lemon works as a flavor booster and prevents the sunchokes from discoloring. Since ramp season is fleeting, feel free to sub in your allium of choice as the season progresses.
Serves 6 to 8
For the dressing:
2 ramps, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
1 large clove garlic, smashed and minced
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained of excess oil and finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch sea salt
Pinch ground black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
For the roasted vegetables:
6 new red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
6 medium-sized sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes)
1 lemon, 1 teaspoon zest reserved and halved
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 cup minced herbs (such as ramp greens, chives, parsley, oregano, tarragon, or thyme)
See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.
Photos by Elizabeth Stark