New-Potato Salad With Hazelnuts

Photo by  Zachary Cross

Photo by Zachary Cross

Happy Independence Day! One staple for many folks for summer gatherings is potato salad. Try a different twist on the usual mayonnaise-based recipe.

I’ve been cooking a long time, playing around with recipes since I was a young child, and making fairly elaborate dishes by the time I was a teenager. I loved trying new things and often found inspiration in the recipes in the magazines I subscribed to. For instance, I made manicotti for my future husband thanks to Seventeen magazine. I also subscribed to Victoria, and while my copies of that magazine are long gone, I still have the page of the potato salad recipe we’ve been making for decades.
While potatoes are native to the Americas, potato salad originated in Europe. Like our favorite recipe it was often served warm with a vinaigrette. Americans in the late 1800s were the first to use mayonnaise or other creamy substances, such as sour cream, to dress their salads. A mayonnaise-based potato salad is found here on the blog.
Growing up I was not a fan of mayonnaise or most creamy dressings so Victoria’s recipe was my first potato salad. Over the years we’ve tried variations on the original recipe. I’m not sure when we started roasting the potatoes instead of steaming them but we’ve stuck with roasting ever since. It gives a nicer color to the potatoes and more flavor. We’ve also used other potatoes. Small Yukon Golds are a nice variation, and for a patriotic meal try a combination of red, white, and blue potatoes.
A few notes on the ingredients: while hazelnuts with their crunch and flavor help make the dish, hazelnut oil is a not something we’ve used often. Find it on Amazon, and I would guess Whole Foods has it as well. Peeling the hazelnuts is fairly easy, but quite messy. Try and do the job outside if you’d like to keep the mess down. The herbs add some more nice color, and are a good flavor combination, but feel free to try others. I think I’ve tried garlic chives instead of regular chives as my only substitution but I could see savory or marjoram working well, if you like their flavors. Serve your potato salad warm, room temperature, or cold. Definitely try it all those ways and find the one you like best.

New-Potato Salad with Hazelnuts

From Victoria magazine, circa 1988
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
Potato Salad:
2 pounds small new red potatoes (about 12 to 18 potatoes)
1 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
To make vinaigrette:

  1. In small bowl, combine wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk until blended.
  2. Gradually whisk in olive oil and hazelnut oil in a thin stream until blended. Set aside.

To make Potato Salad:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Scrub but dod not peel potatoes. Steam potatoes until tender, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on size. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
  2. While potatoes are cooling, spread hazelnuts on baking sheet. Toast at 350° F for 10 minutes. Rub hot nuts in towel to remove skins.
  3. Chop nuts coarsely. Cut potatoes in quarters or eighths. In large bowl, combine potatoes, nuts, chives, and parsley.
  4. Whisk vinaigrette and drizzle over salad. Toss gently. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings
Variation: Roast hazelnuts first. Then roast cut potatoes in your choice of fat. Peel hazelnuts while potatoes roast. Proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Printable recipe here