Cooking – Simple Potato Salad

BC nugget potatoes are in season and you can buy them just about everywhere. Tons of farmers are selling them at the markets, so take your pick. Nuggets are amazing when they’re fresh. So crunchy and juicy and starchy, I can understand the name ‘earth apple’. If you’re lucky enough to find some fresh German (variety) nugget potatoes, try them! They are delicious and creamy just steamed and unadorned.

Nuggets with sheep feta and thyme

Simple Potato Salad Recipe

This is my favourite way to prepare nugget potatoes for guests or potlucks. So simple, yet so delicious, fresh and attractive.

Ingredients

  • Nugget potatoes, about two pounds.
  • Butter. I recommend Lactantia Unsalted Cultured Butter. Tastes like it’s salted, but it’s not, so you can add salt to your taste.
  • Chevre (soft unripened goat cheese). My favourite is Happy Days Plain Soft Unripened. See Hunting & Gathering below for more info.
  • Fresh thyme.
  • Ground pepper & salt.

The best potatoes to use are fresh nuggets, any kind of nugget will do. Red, white, yellow – they’re all good. If you don’t have nuggets, use larger red, white or yellow fleshed potatoes. I prefer potatoes that hold some of their shape to give the dish more texture. It’s not meant to be perfect and smooth, so I wouldn’t recommend Russets for that reason.

Instructions

Don’t peel the potatoes unless you have to. There’s more texture, colour and nutritional value with the skins on. Wash and cut the nuggets in half or quarters if they’re biggish ones.

Steam the potatoes until well-cooked (about 20-25 minutes depending on size of pieces). They need to be soft enough to smash up roughly with a fork. If you steam them it’s okay to “overcook” them a bit, but if you don’t have a steamer and you boil them you need to be more careful since they will dissolve into the water if you don’t keep an eye on them!

While the potatoes are cooking, get a bowl big enough for mixing the potatoes (can also be your serving bowl if you’re lazy like me).

Put about a Tbsp of butter and 3 Tbsp of goat cheese into the bowl. Add more depending on quantity of potatoes.

Add a small handful (about 6 stems) of thyme leaves. Hold each stem in one hand and pull it through your other to strip the little herb leaves off.

Add a good dose of ground black pepper (several twists).

If you used salted butter, you probably won’t need to add any additional salt. The cheese has some salt as well. If you used unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the bowl. You can add more later if needed.

When the potatoes are cooked, add them to the bowl and mix gently with a fork until butter is melted and everything is evenly distributed and potatoes are a little smashed but not mashed.

Have a taste and see if you need a titch more salt before serving. Serve while still warm, but it’s delicious at any temp.

Variations

  • Instead of goat cheese, you can use ½ a cup of feta, crumbled with your hands.
  • Instead of thyme, you can use fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or ripped.
  • Or you can use fresh rosemary needles stripped from one stem and chopped finely. Rosemary is very pungent, so use sparingly.
  • Steam some beets with the potatoes and mix them together for pink potatoes. Mmmm….beets.

Hunting & Gathering

Happy Days Goat Cheese

Okanagan Goat Cheese from Happy Days Dairy – I recommend purchasing it from Les Amis du Fromage. They have excellent prices, plus their staff really know cheese. La Grotta del Formaggio on Commercial Drive also sells it for a great price (they are also a cheese  importer and distributor), but some of their staff don’t know how to handle cheese and have touched mine several times with bare hands when cutting portions from the big roll. A major no-no especially with goat cheese as it will start to go moldy in a couple of days, and it’s kinda gross. You can also buy it pre-packaged in the little tubes (as pictured) at many grocery stores (Whole Foods, Choices, IGA, etc.), but the price can be more than a dollar more per 100g. Useful if you’re in a hurry though. The Happy Days “Deluxe” goat cheese is also excellent.

Lactantia ‘My Country’ Unsalted Cultured Butter – I buy the pound of ‘Butter Sticks’, store in the freezer and pull out a stick at a time as needed. Because it’s cultured it keeps as long as regular salted butter. But because it’s unsalted you can also use it for all your baking, which is great since the sticks are already portioned perfectly for baking and have markings for smaller quantities. So convenient! Save on Foods and No Frills definitely sell it and it’s usually $6.69 to $6.99 a pound. I’ve never had any luck getting the Butter Sticks at IGA, but they do sell the full pound version.

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