It's happening again. In every home I've lived in, much less stayed at for more than two full weeks, I've stockpiled. I've mentioned my food-hoarding habits here before, the way I channel a Depression-era housewife with every meal I throw together. I make enough food for a small battalion. I store beans, canned goods and pickles at a feverish rate. And I always have bread.
I have now lived in this little house in Oakland for three and one half weeks and I have monopolized the freezer. Not to mention the counter space (where I lay my bags of bread each day) and the compost bin (where uneaten rock hard baguettes await their final resting place). I'm being conservative too. I only bring home what I like, and I am truly picky. I only bring home what I think my roommate will eat. And I offer it to people on the train and bus rides home. Takers are few and far between. Apparently this "never take candy from strangers" thing extends to bread, and that fear permeates the furthest reaches of adulthood. I can't blame people. Someone offered me candy when I was little once and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I just wish they'd take my damn bread is all.
Due to this stockpile I want to first offer a public apology to my roommate, who I'm not even sure reads this blog, but here goes. Dear Julia, I'm so very very sorry about the bread. And the freezer I have so brazenly appropriated. I hope you're not interested in using it before June 6, as I am unable to control my urge to horde about 15 types of bread, many dozens of croissants and cakes and whatever other confectionary looks like it will have a promising future below 32 degrees. As well as leftovers. You're welcome to all of it. Seriously.
Secondly, I want to explain to you, dear readers, the predicament that I am in. It appears I have to work my way through many many many a leftover before I will allow myself to spend money on groceries again. I spent the weekend musing over various and sundry recipes (which, incidentally, I also enjoy stockpiling) only to realize, I must eat what I have before I let whimsy carry me into unknown waters, or recipes as it were. That being the case, this weekend I gathered what on hand I had and decided that a potato salad was in order.
Oh please don't sigh, or roll your eyes. I would never present you with any ordinary picnic variety potato salad (which can be quite good, but there are so very many of those already). This is a potato salad with panache and punch. This potato salad references the German potato salads I love so much, and then borrows some from the Spanish, a bit from other parts of the Mediterranean, and somehow originates from a little bakery in France. I adapted it from a further permutation I found online. I'm now regretting the fact that I didn't take this salad one step further and reference a salade nicoise, because tuna would be an absolutely divine addition, perhaps on a bed of blanched green beans. My stomach is grumbling just thinking of it!
Adapted from Rose Bakery by Rose Carrarini and further adapted from the version on Chocolate & Zucchini
1 1/2 lb new potatoes
2 hard-boiled eggs, crumbled
1 large dill pickle, or several smaller pickled veggies of your choosing (I used spicy pickled carrots)
2 Tbs capers
1 shallot, peeled and minced
2 tsp strong mustard
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 - 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
A big pinch of sugar
A handful of cilantro, chopped
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Drain immediately, let cool for a minute, cut in two-bite wedges, and transfer to a baking dish large enough to accommodate them in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss to coat, and roast until golden and crusty, about 30 mins.
In the meantime, combine in a salad bowl the egg, pickle or pickled vegetables, capers, shallot, mustard, vinegar, paprika, a bit of salt and pepper, and 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil.
When the potatoes are ready, add them to the salad bowl, toss gently to coat, and fold in the cilantro. Add sugar and taste for seasoning. Let cool to slightly warm or at room temperature.