|Taken with my iPhone.|
Eons ago I bought a couple of cookbooks by Jeff Smith, "The Frugal Gourmet." One was for American cooking, with recipes dating back to Thomas Jefferson's era. I don't think I made anything out of that book. The second had recipes from Europe, China, and somewhere else I can no longer remember. I've never made anything Chinese because their recipes have far too many ingredients for me. I can't be bothered to go to that much effort just to eat.
One of Smith's recipes was for this Greek potato salad he claims is available at just about every Greek restaurant, in Greece, that is. It's simple, easy to remember, the ingredients are available year-round, and it's one of our favorites.
Russet potatoes, boiled
Italian flat-leaf parsley
Greek salad dressing
I typically cook about five pounds of russet potatoes. I've tried new potatoes, like red potatoes, but we like the salad better with russets. I understand Greek cooks peel all their potatoes, but we don't. You choose. I usually buy the five- or ten-pound bag so the potatoes are small and can be boiled or steamed whole. Allow them to cool completely, then cut into whatever size pieces you prefer. We like a medium cut.
The amount of the parsley, celery leaves, and green onions you use is according to taste. We use a bunch of parsley, a bunch of green onions (unless it's a really big bunch, then I'll use less), and as much *celery leaves as I can get my hands on. Celery leaves are slightly bitter by themselves but fantastic in this recipe. Rinse the celery leaves and parsley, then spin dry in a salad spinner. Chop the green onions into a size you like.
Greek salad dressing is made by adding lemon juice and olive oil to a jar, then shaking until well mixed. I use one-third lemon juice to two-thirds olive oil. Use the fruitiest olive oil you can buy as you won't be cooking with it. If you have a Trader Joes nearby, they have the best deals on olive oil. I can buy a liter of excellence extra virgin olive oil for $6-9. I add salt and freshly ground pepper to the dressing. Potatoes take a lot of salt, but don't add too much to the dressing. You can season it later if you need to.
I use dried oregano. Crumble it between your fingers or hands over the bowl of chopped greens and potatoes. I've never used the fresh herb as Smith said Greek cooks use the dried, and that was good enough for me.
Stir everything together, taste and season if needed. Enjoy! I like it best freshly mixed on the first day, when it's room temperature. My wife likes it better the next day. I take leftovers out of the fridge an hour or so before I eat to let it warm up a bit.
* Celery leaves are typically cut off before the celery is placed in your grocery store, often to the point where there are few leaves left. I'll choose the bunch with the most leaves, then pick leaves off other bunches and put them in the plastic bag with my bunch. Sometimes I get odd looks from the cashier. One store in town will run to the back and look for leaves if we ask. Sometimes we get a whole bagful. We tell them it's for our hamster, and they smile and nod. Occasionally organic celery has more leaves, in which case I'll buy it instead if the cost isn't outrageous. Lastly, we get some huge celery bunches at our farmers market, when it's in season. They leave the all leaves on, and we feast on Greek potato salad!
Final note: this potato salad is far healthier than store-bought mayonnaise-based potato salad, which uses cheap and not-so-good-for-you soybean oil. Soybean oil is produced with the use of high heat and solvents, then is bleached to deodorize the rancid smell and taste. Yuck. Extra virgin olive is so much better for you!