Friday, August 31, 2012

Under the Tuscan Sunset Potato Salad

Earthy and rustic salad inspired by my recent trip to Toscana, Italia


Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Tuscany, Italy for the DaVinci Storyteller Experience. If there is one thing that stood out, it is the reverie that Tuscans have for that which grows from the earth.  With that in mind, I wanted to pay respect to the beauty of the purple potato. Its vivid color is so regal, that I just couldn’t smash them. They were so beautiful, I had to leave them in respectable-sized chunks. 

In keeping with Tuscan tradition, this potato salad is nuanced by a simple, olive oil and balsamic vinegar-based dressing, with a nutty, saltiness from the Pecorino Romano and anchovy paste. The herbs perfume this vinaigrette for the perfect balance, and elevate this dressing from ordinary, to extraordinary, with the pine nuts adding a textural interest and an unexpected crunch.    

This warm and rustic potato salad is all the flavors of Tuscany, with all the magnificent colors of a beautiful Tuscan sunset.  Buon Appetito!

Leonardo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 pounds of purple fingerling potatoes
1 small yellow onion (minced finely)
¼ pound of red cherry tomatoes (halved)
¼ pound of yellow cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/8 pound of prosciutto (torn into 2-inch pieces)
3 cups of fresh arugula
¼ cup of pine nuts
Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

1/3  cup of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove (pushed through garlic press)
¼ cup of Pecorino Romano cheese (grated)
1 teaspoon of anchovy paste
1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary (minced finely)
½ teaspoon of fresh thyme (pulled off sprig)
½ teaspoon of sea salt
½ teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper

1.)  Using a mortar and pestle, add the garlic and sea salt and grind to make a paste.
2.)  Add the cracked, pepper, rosemary, thyme, anchovy paste, and Pecorino Romano grated cheese, and stir to thoroughly combine.
3.)  Lastly, add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and stir to thoroughly incorporate.

1.)  Cut the potatoes into 1 ½ inch chunks.
2.)  In a large pot of salted water, boil the potatoes until fork-tender. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
3.)  Toss warm potatoes with the onions and the vinaigrette. Allow to sit for 20 minutes to absorb the vinaigrette and onions to soften.
4.)  Just before serving, toss the warm potatoes with the arugula, prosciutto, red and yellow sliced cherry tomatoes, and garnish with pine nuts.

Town of Montalcino, Toscana, Italia

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