Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Grilled Potato and Leek Salad with Salsa Verde Vinaigrette

If you love to throw parties and are amazing at it or if you’d like to get better at doing it, I have a new book for you. Life Is a Party: Deliciously Doable Recipes to Make Every Day a Celebration from David Burtka is full of festive ideas, and I received a review copy. And, you can win a copy! Just leave a comment on this post before the end of Monday, May 6th including an email address where I can contact you. Two randomly selected winners in the US or Canada will each receive a copy of the book from the publisher. The book begins with handy party planning tips like setting the mood by testing lighting the day before, stocking up on plenty of ice and storing it in the bathtub or washing machine, checking with guests about any food allergies, and more. My favorite of the tips, and one that I live by, is getting as much done in advance as possible. You should enjoy the party too! Then, the party menus are grouped by season. But, there’s more than just menus and recipes. There are also suggestions for table decor, what to wear, how to take the theme to the next level, activities, and even a playlist for each occasion. Everything you need for an incredible party is here, but this is an easy-going book. You’re invited to pick and choose how much you want to do and how you want to shape your party. The recipes tend to serve six to eight, and you can scale up or down as needed. Each menu includes cocktails or mocktails, salads or sides, main dishes, and dessert. Of course, you could also mix and match recipes to create your own menus too. As soon as I opened the book, the Scallops with Peas and Green Oil got my full attention. It’s part of a spring party menu that starts with a Cucumber-Herb Cocktail and ends with a Flourless Chocolate Cake. The Mexican Fiesta looks like a lot of fun, and I would love to find big serving bowls of guacamole and ceviche at a party. I also loved the look of the Chocolate Chunk Hazelnut Bars and the pitcher of Fresh Blueberry Fizz at the Summer Picnic. It was the Sunday Funday menu that got me headed into the kitchen though. It starts with Mojito Slushies and includes Grilled Tofu Skewers with Coconut-Peanut Dipping Sauce, a DIY Sundae Bar, and the Grilled Potato and Leek Salad shown here. 

I did fall for the idea of grilling potatoes for a potato salad, but in truth, I can never pass up salsa verde of the Italian variety. The herby sauce with olive oil sounded like a perfect match for grilled potatoes. I used small, white potatoes, and they were boiled and allowed to cool before grilling. I opted for a grill pan on top of the stove for better heat control with the small potatoes and leeks and onions. I had a collection of local spring bulb onions and leeks, and I had just brought home some shallot scapes that I used here as well. The onions and leeks were halved lengthwise, brushed with oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled on the pan until tender. The cooled potatoes were sliced in half, oiled, seasoned, and grilled for a few minutes on each side. The vinaigrette was made with mustard, white wine vinegar, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, and I added capers. I chopped the grilled onions and leeks because I prefer them finely chopped. They were added to a big bowl with the grilled potatoes to be tossed with the vinaigrette. The salad was garnished with sliced radishes. 

My instincts did not fail me in assuming the salsa verde vinaigrette would be great with potatoes. The mix of alliums with the herbs all worked together fabulously. I would definitely serve this to guests or bring it to a party. Whether your guest lists are family-friendly or grown-ups-only, your gatherings are formal or anything-goes, and you plan every detail to a T or just want some basic ideas, this book has it all for your next party. 

Grilled Potato and Leek Salad with Salsa Verde Vinaigrette 
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from Life Is a Party: Deliciously Doable Recipes to Make Every Day a Celebration

Serves 6 to 8 

for the potatoes and leeks 
Kosher salt 
3 pounds fingerling potatoes 
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns 
3 large leeks (about 11/2 pounds) 
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil 

for the salsa verde vinaigrette 
1/4 cup whole-grain mustard 
1/4 cup white wine vinegar 
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning 
4 scallions, thinly sliced 
Leaves from 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 
1 bunch cilantro 
1/4 cup sliced radishes, for garnish 

special equipment 
outdoor grill or grill pan 

1. Cook the potatoes: Bring a large stockpot of heavily salted water to a boil (the water should taste like the sea). Add the potatoes and peppercorns, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. 
2. While the potatoes are cooking, make the salsa verde vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Stir in the scallions, parsley, and cilantro. 
3. Grill the leeks: Heat the grill or grill pan to medium-high. 
4. Slice off the root ends and dark green tops of the leeks and discard. Halve the leeks lengthwise, then peel back the layers by the base so they are slightly separated. Immerse the leeks in a bowl of cold water and gently shake to dislodge any dirt and grit. Pat dry, then drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt. Grill the leeks cut-side down until dark grill marks form, about 4 minutes, then flip and cook until the leeks no longer feel stiff, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and let cool. 
5. When the potatoes are tender, drain them and spread them out on a baking sheet to cool, discarding the peppercorns. Once cool enough to touch, slice them in half lengthwise and toss with the remaining 1⁄4 cup olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt. Grill, cut-side down, until dark grill marks appear, 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and grill for 3 minutes more. 
6. Toss the potatoes, leeks, and salsa verde vinaigrette in a large bowl; garnish with the radishes. The salad can be served right away or allowed to sit on the counter for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

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  1. This recipe looks delish! Love the southwestern combination of flavors and in a sucker for a good vinaigrette! Plus, you had me at flourless chocolate cake. Delish as always, Lisa!

  2. Sounds like a terrific book! We're really big on doing as much ahead of time as possible, too -- removes a lot of stress. Anyway, this is a terrific looking recipe. We're eating a lot of big salads for dinner at the moment, and this would be perfect. Thanks!

  3. This looks like a really great salad for garden parties! Perfect for the grill season.

  4. The salad looks amazing, but will have to leave off the Cilantro as my husband is really not fond of it.

  5. Life's a party! What a grand celebration of cooking! We're having an outdoor Mother's Day dinner and this updated potato salad recipe who be a fabulous addition to the menu.

  6. Boy, could I use this cookbook- I'm hopeless at organizing parties and I'd like to get my hands on some of those recipes! By the way, please put my name into the draw- I am a US resident!

  7. Oh Lisa, what a delicious looking salad, and I especially love the sound of the dressing...loaded with cilantro...thanks for sharing the recipe. I hope you are having a fabulous week!

  8. so happy grilling season is here! :) this vinaigrette is very appealing.

  9. The book sounds fantastic. The salsa verde vinaigrette sounds so good. My spud loving family is definitely going to love this salad.


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