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Potato Salad Nicoise

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Give me books, friends, French wine, fine weather, and a little music out of doors. —John Keats, 1819

We tend to push the summer season a bit in Colorado Springs, since it could be snowing again by late September. The same type of flexible attitude is recommended when altering recipes to serve specific needs of friends.  

A 1523 back-garden cookout on Sunday evening was a huge success. It featured traditional burger / hot dog cookout fair, Boston baked beans, sensational homemade chocolate cupcakes—and this slightly different salad Nicoise created to accommodate a strict vegetarian neighbor and to prevent any possible chance of food-borne illness from mayonnaise-based, potato-salad-gone-bad from sitting out too long. 

Since baked beans were on the menu, the traditional salad Nicoise fresh green beans were left out of this version, as was the tuna, the hard-boiled eggs and my beloved white anchovies.


A great time was had by all as my delightful new neighbors shared Old North End colorful character stories late into the night that reminded this San Francisco transplant of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City

Potato Salad Nicoise, vegertarian style

Ingredients for six 

15 small new potatoes, well scrubbed with skins left on

12 or more multi colored cherry tomatoes (to taste)

1/4 to 1/2 cup capers (to taste)

green onions sliced thinly, or chopped red onions 

1 full cup Nicoise olives or more to taste (I substituted Kalamata olives since I had them in my refrigerator)

1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley (to taste)

red pepper flakes (to taste)

salt and black pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in well-salted water for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn burner off and let sit until easily prieced through with a sharp knife.

Do not overcook.

Drain, place in bowl and cut in bite-size halves or quarters, depending on size of new potatoes. Add olives and capers to bowl with potatoes.

Lemon, Garlic and Olive Oil Dressing (one cup)

1 tablespoon sea salt

3 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup or slightly more fresh lemon juice

1 grated lemon zest (optional)

fresh grated pepper to taste

With a mortar and pestle, make a paste of the salt and minced garlic, or use the back of a sharp knife on a wooden board (per Brian Emmett).  

Mix together lemon juice and olive oil. Add the salt and garlic mixture to the lemon juice and olive oil in a tightly closed container.

Shake well until mixture is creamy, pour on potatoes, olives and capers while the potatoes are still hot, so they absorb the dressing.

Gently add the green onions, tomatoes and Italian parsley just before serving. Mix carefully, leaving the potatoes, tomatoes, olives and capers intact for an earthy layers-of-flavor backyard picnic presentation.  

Nutritional information

A level of science-based wildly popular fiber in the potato peel is called resistant starch, the type of fiber that feeds the friendly bacteria in the colon and improves digestive health. 

Resistant starch is now suggested to improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels and reduce appetite. Unpeeled potatoes that have been cooled down after cooking, like those in this potato salad recipe contain higher amounts of resistant starch than the same potatoes served warm or hot. 


Ellen Troyer with David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff