paul berglund's potato salad
It's funny how a few small gestures can turn something humble and simple into something to revel, and this dish is just that. I have made it multiple times this summer already, and it just begs to be shared around a table with a group of new and old friends, on a deck overlooking a lake somewhere North, as the loons call and the sun dissolves like a drop of pink paint into the water. Yes, it is potato salad, that old midwestern mayo-slathered backyard BBQ staple, but it is also so much more. The original recipe comes from Chef Paul Berglund, a champion of simple, seasonal cuisine, and someone who I greatly respect and admire. I’ve made a few small changes to suit my whims and tastes, and I certainly hope he doesn’t mind.
for the quick pickles:
• 1 small bunch radishes, very thinly sliced
• 1/2 tsp. whole mustard seeds
• 1/2 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
• 1/2 cup filtered water
• 2 tsp. kosher salt
• 3 tbsp. honey (or maple syrup)
for the salad:
• 1 tbsp. neutral-flavored oil (I used sunflower oil)
• 1 medium head cauliflower (I used yellow cauliflower), cut into small florets
• 1 1/4 lb. potatoes, a mix of baby reds and fingerlings
• 1 tbsp. champagne vinegar
• 1/2 cup good-quality mayonnaise
• 1 large shallot, very finely minced
• 1 heaping tbsp. dijon mustard
• Scant 1/4 cup capers, drained, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
• 2-3 tbsp. fresh dill, coarsely chopped
• Large handful of microgreens, or watercress (optional)
• Salted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
Make the pickles. Pack sliced radishes into a 16-oz mason jar, and scatter the mustard seeds on top. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, and honey and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, just until salt has dissolved and mixture is fully combined. Pour over the radishes and allow to cool in the fridge while you make the salad. Radishes can also be made a day ahead of time and allowed to cool overnight.
Make the salad. Preheat oven to 425° F. On a large baking sheet, toss cauliflower with oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until florets are tender and slightly browned in spots. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. If potatoes are larger than 1 inch in diameter, slice in half or in thirds until uniform in size. Drop potatoes into the boiling water and cook just until tender, 8-9 minutes. Remove from boiling water using a slotted spoon, and transfer to a large metal bowl or baking dish. Sprinkling with champagne vinegar and toss to combine.
In a large serving bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, and capers, and additional salt to taste, until fully combined. Add cooled cauliflower, potatoes, fresh herbs, and microgreens, and gently toss with a large spoon or rubber spatula just until combined. Scatter a couple spoonfuls of the pickled radishes across the top, and serve immediately, with more microgreens and radishes if desired. I also sprinkled a few sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds across the top, because I like the extra salt and crunch.