Turmeric & Tarragon Potato Salad With Butter Beans
Potato salad gets a pretty bad rap on the whole, which is a shame really as potatoes are a great vehicle for really punchy dressings. As with so many culinary sins, I blame the '70s. Mayo. Peas. Jeez—you could even buy potato salad in a can...
Anyway, this is a completely different ballgame.
Serves 6 as a side
- 2 lb (900 g) salad potatoes, washed
- pinch of ground turmeric
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 2 x 14-oz (40-g) cans cooked butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 5½ oz (150 g) pitted olives (preferably black)
- 6 garlic cloves
- ½ bunch fresh mint, washed, roughly cut
- 2 sprigs fresh tarragon, washed, roughly cut
- ¾ cup (100 g) sunflower seeds
- ½ cup (120 ml) lemon juice
- 1 level tsp cracked black pepper
- about ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- Cut the potatoes (skin and all) into ¾-in (2-cm) cubes and cover them with water in a pot: Add a pinch of salt and the turmeric and bring to a boil.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. Rinse under cold running water until the potatoes are coolish, drain well, and tip into a bowl.
- Add the onions, beans, and olives.
- Place the garlic, herbs, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and the pepper in your blender and mix for about a minute. Check the herbs haven't clumped—if they have; pull them apart and blend them again.
- Turn the machine on and trickle in the olive oil so it forms a pretty pale-green emulsion: This is your tarator sauce. Check the seasoning and then stir it into the potato mixture.
On the importance of using the right potato
The clue is in the name really. Salad potatoes. They are firm and waxy and withstand all that tossing around in sauce. There is nothing wrong with a smashed potato salad of course, but for this particular dish, you want your potatoes to keep their integrity. So, with the dumbing down of supermarket shopping (what in God's name is an "easy peeler," for example? What on earth happened to calling a clementine a clementine, and a mandarin a mandarin?) you will probably be able to waltz in and buy a generic "salad potato," but given the luxury of variety and choice, I would always opt for fingerling potatoes, which remain delightfully creamy and have a ton of flavor in their own right.
Excerpted from Veganistan by Sally Butcher. Copyright © 2023 by Sally Butcher. Used by permission of Interlink Publishing Group.
Sally Butcher is the fiery-haired proprietress of the notable Persian food store Persepolis in London, which she runs with her Persian husband, Jamshid. She is also a prolific author and blogger, who has amassed a devoted online following for her food blog. The foodie delights of the Middle East are her specialty, but she has been known to venture far and wide for inspiration. Her first book, Persia in Peckham, was selected Cookery Book of the Year by the Times of London and was short-listed for the 2008 André Simon Award. Her following tomes, The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian, New Middle Eastern Street Food, and Salmagundi: A Celebration of Salads from around the world, also published by Interlink, have received critical acclaim and starred reviews. When Sally is not running her store, she blogs and tweets prolifically and has amassed a devoted online following.