Looking for a satisfying weekday dinner for one? This simple, hearty potato salad is your answer for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. Of course, you could choose to share.
Cooking is a whole different experience in the summer—at best it is simple, spontaneous, and takes advantage of whatever produce is abundant.
The other night I came home from work tired and with nothing in particular in mind for dinner. It was wonderfully hot outside, and I wanted something salad-y. Potato salad, my brain whispered, but there were no potatoes in the house.
I wandered outside to the rose beds, where I usually plant potatoes under the flowers. I didn’t plant any this year, but the magical thing about growing your own potatoes is that you inevitably miss some at harvest time, and find a few volunteers the next year. The landscapers have been kindly and meticulous about working around those volunteer potato plants. The truth is, I love my potatoes far more than my old-fashioned thorny roses, which reach out to scratch me as I dig underneath them. But they coexist peacefully enough with each other.
So I got my spade and started gently exploring the deep soil. The evening sun slanted golden over my shoulder, and the cat followed me, as he always must—sniffing a bit at the holes I dug, then rolling luxuriously on the driveway as I piled a few different varieties of itty bitty potatoes next to him.
When I had a good double handful—enough that I couldn’t carry my potatoes and my shovel without dropping something every few steps—I brought my potatoes into the house for a wash. Thin-skinned, freshly dug potatoes don’t need much more than a swipe and a rinse to get the dirt off.
Two handfuls of potatoes made enough potato salad for two servings. When you’re cooking for one, that’s dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. Of course, you can scale up the recipe as need be.
I topped my dinner portion with half a can of good olive oil-packed tuna and put a few roasted tomatoes on the side to complete the meal. The other half of the tuna went in the fridge for the next day. The tuna can went on the floor at the insistence of the cat.
- 10-12 tiny potatoes
- 1 egg, hard-boiled, peeled, and coarsely chopped
- drizzle of olive oil
- 2 tbsp diced onion
- 1 tsp minced parsley
- 4 cornichons, diced (or other pickles, or a tablespoon of capers)
- salt and pepper
Bring a stockpot of water to a boil. If you don’t already have a hard-boiled egg handy, you can do this: when the water is barely simmering, carefully lower in the egg. Set timer for 5 minutes.
If your potatoes are larger than bite-sized, cut them in half. When the 5 minute timer goes off, add potatoes to gently boiling water and cover. Set timer for 10 minutes.
Dice onion and cornichons, mince parsley. Get a bowl of ice water ready for your egg.
Around the 10-minute mark, fish out a potato and check for doneness. When a fork will pierce the potato to the center, but still with slight resistance, they are done.
Drain potatoes and egg. Place egg in ice bath. Rinse potatoes lightly with cool water to stop cooking. It’s okay if they are still warm. Peel and coarsely chop egg. Stir all ingredients together in a bowl, drizzling on enough olive oil to moisten. Add salt and pepper to taste.