About ten years ago, I came across a recipe for a grilled potato salad in an issue of Cooks Illustrated. I was intrigued by the grilling technique, and it was the first time I'd made a potato salad with vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise, which was a revelation. The other thing I loved about the recipe was this clever technique: the just-grilled potatoes are tossed first with a little rice vinegar, which absorbs quickly into the warm potatoes, and then with a couple of handfuls of arugula, which wilts gently under their heat.
Over the years, I’ve adapted the recipe, using red wine vinegar for the vinaigrette instead of more rice vinegar, leaving out the yellow pepper, substituting red onion for the original shallot, and eventually forgoing the grill. For me, the fresh, bold flavors in the salad are the reason for its success, and I found that grilling the potatoes can distract from this. But by all means use the grill if you’d like -- just blanch the potatoes first, and then finish them on skewers on the grill for a few minutes. —Merrill Stubbs
6 to 8
small red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
finely chopped chives
arugula, stems removed, washed and dried and very roughly chopped
Put the onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water (this will remove some of the bite). Put the potatoes in a large pot of generously salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Lower the heat so the water is barely simmering and cook for about 10 minutes, until you can pierce the potatoes with the tip of a sharp knife and it slips out easily. Drain the potatoes well and pour them into a large bowl.
Gently toss the warm potatoes with the rice vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the chives, arugula and red onion and stir through.
Whisk together the red wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the potato mixture and toss to combine. Serve warm or keep covered at room temperature for up to an hour.