Spring Potato Salad with Horseradish Aioli

I leave tomorrow.

It wasn’t until I printed my boarding pass that I started to get excited. Portugal and Spain. Three weeks. Ahhh! I’ve been planning and catching up on life since the end of tax season. It hasn’t been a bummer. The weather is turning towards summer just in time for me to leave. It’s [partially] why I wanted to go in May. Summer in Portland is just so nice. It’s hard to leave. Some cities on the very loose agenda — Lisbon, Porto, Seville, Madrid, Barcelona. Everything else is a bonus. I expect day trips, lots of food and wine, football, and more food and wine. No grapes are safe!

I finally checked a culinary ‘to do’ off my list — aioli. I love it. I have a secret love affair with it. It’s a more mature version of my unhealthy love of jarred mayo as a kid. Once I had a taste of aioli, I would never go back. I was am also super intimidated by it. I mean, c’mon. You have to whisk everything super slowly or it breaks and you have to start over [or I hear you can “fix” it, but yeah that’s not happening]. This springy potato salad called for it, and since the rest of the dish is pretty foolproof, I figured I could give it a whirl.

Six egg yolks, 2+ cups of oil, and Andrew’s help later, we had a cup or so of aioli for the salad. I was so pumped. Almost travel pumped. In my excitement, I poured all of it into the salad, not thinking. Thankfully the salad held up to it, but you should probably start with half to 3/4 of the batch before deciding you want to eat all the aioli. Damn it was good, too. This is one of those things that tastes better just because you made it. Blood, sweat, tears, and all that. Few foods do that for me. I always think your version tastes better than mine [critical, much]? This, though. This was perfection. I could have easily spooned it straight into my mouth.

Inspiration: A Thought for Food

Ingredients

  • 2lbs small potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 20 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, halved lengthwise
  • 1 handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish [or more if you’re into that]

Preparation

In a pot large enough for all the potatoes, cover them with cool water until they’re just covered. Heavily salt the water and bring it to a boil. Boil them until they’re about fork tender [15 minutes] and drain.

To make the aioli, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, and salt. Then, drop by drop [seriously, I’m not exaggerating], start whisking in the oil. You want it to be fully dispersed amongst the yolk before adding more. Eventually it’ll get thick and velvety. If it starts looking like egg yolk and oil, you’ve added too much oil too quickly. This video should help. Once all the oil is whisked in, stir in the horseradish.

Toss the vegetables together with the dill. Pour in half of the aioli and stir well to cover all of the vegetables. Add more aioli as you see fit. Season with salt and paper before serving.

5 comments

  1. Sara Kuhlman

    I discovered aioli on a trip to Spain a few years ago and couldn’t believe I’d never had it. YUM. I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to make it though. Anything that calls for egg yolks I usually skip!

    Have fun on your trip!! I can’t wait to read all about it. Especially about the food. I had wonderful food in Lisbon.

    On a side note, it looks like I will be visiting Portland in July so we should definitely meet up. Not sure on the dates yet because it turns out I can apply for my UK citizenship and passport, so I will be over here for a few months still and then visiting in the meantime!

    • Michelle

      I will be around all of July as far as I know. We will definitely get together. Just keep me posted on the dates. Dual citizenship is totally worthy of a delayed move. So cool!

  2. suki

    Have so much fun on your trip. Can’t wait to hear all about it. Some friends of mine are in Spain right now doing a tour of all the places to eat. :)

  3. Amy Mills

    So psyched for you! And yeah, insanely jealous especially of how you’re going to Madrid and Porto. Tried to convince my friends to go to Madrid but they were drawn by the allures of young people and parties in Barcelona more… oh well, another time. Please don’t tell me you’re going to be in Lisbon for the champions league final?!? My jealousy would be too much then.

    And nice job on the aioli! One of my favorite foods, I think. Looks so good with the potatoes.

    • Michelle

      We are kicking ourselves for not staying for the final. We are coming home right before it. We are planning on seeing Benfica on Sunday anyway and Barca for their final match of the season. Not quite the same as champions league, but it’ll do.

      I am already in love with Lisbon and I’ve been here only four hours.

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