CH and I are settling into the French lifestyle pretty well. We are enjoying our morning croissants, afternoon baguettes (yes – our local boulangerie knows us already!), meandering along the small side-streets, 1.5 hour lunches at the local cafes, joining friends for evening drinks in the town square, the local produce and flower markets and most of all, having wine at any hour of the day – which we justify as adapting to the French culture. As CH and I enjoyed a Saturday afternoon picnic today, we couldn’t help but realize “la vie est belle” and how truly lucky we are to be experiencing this. Had I not left my corporate job, sold our apartment and went back to university at 23, I wouldn’t be here today, and for that I am so grateful. I will definitely be sharing pictures of the town and our adventures so far, I just need to start bringing my camera more!
Anyways, sorry for that blurb – just had to express how grateful and happy I am to be here – on to the food and a delicious potato salad.
If you read my last post, you will know that the current score is France kitchen 1, Jill 0. This has yet to be rectified, but I am plotting my revenge, don’t you worry. Apparently replacing the stove is on “France time”, so we are still without one. It has been OK though, we’ve been eating lots of salads, and I haven’t minded at all, but I think CH is getting impatient and wants “real food” and not just salads – he even offered to take the bus to the local “walmart-type store” to buy us a new stove.
Anyways, not having a heat source, except a microwave, meant that I had to get creative with our salads and this recipe is just that.
I love potato salad and knew that I could cook potatoes in the microwave, so I was off to a good start. CH isn’t a fan of mayonnaise at all, so I knew I had to adapt the dressing. Not to worry, I had a secret French-style weapon (and one that caused me to smile ear-to-ear when I bought it at the grocery store). Crème Fraîche. This delicious (and expensive in Canada!) ingredient that is similar to sour cream, but SO much better as it is lighter and less ‘sour’. The French use it a lot to finish sauces, as it doesn’t curdle when heated, or they serve it with fruit as a light dessert. I loved it the first time I tried it, and couldn’t wait to use it in France.
So, I was armed with cooked potatoes, crème fraîche as a base for the dressing and a mound of fresh vegetables from the market next-door. Time to assemble a fresh potato salad.
It turned out delicious. CH raved about how good it was, and promptly finished off his portion and what I had set-aside for the next day’s lunch. I will definitely be making this again, especially for our afternoon picnics by the river – I am confident it would make a great side to your next BBQ!
Yield: 4 side-servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes (potatoes)
- 10 baby white or red potatoes
- 1/2 red pepper, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 green pepper, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 red onion, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large cucumber, seeded and diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced into 1-inch cubes
- large handful of fresh parsley, diced
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
Cook your potatoes as desired, either boiling them in water on the stove or microwaving on high for 8-10 minutes (if you are microwaving them – don’t forget to pierce each potato!). Allow the cook potatoes to cool and then dice into 1-inch cubes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the peppers, onion, cucumber, tomato and parsley. Add the olive oil and crème fraîche and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well to evenly coat all vegetables.
Add the cooked potatoes to the bowl and stir well to coat the potatoes.
Cover the potato salad with saran wrap and place it in fridge for at least 1-hour prior to serving. My experience is that the longer the flavors have to meld together before eating, the better the potato salad – so feel free to make it the night before.
Enjoy with a glass of rose and good company.
An Original JBean French Cuisine Creation
PS – this was our first dinner by the river – hence the lighting of the pictures. L to R: Potato Salad, baguette, green bean salad with beets and goat cheese (recipe to come!), olives and local artisan sausage. Yumm!