This is a bit of a last-minute throwtogether post -pardon the hasty photo- but I was so excited to see the launch of Summer Fest 2009, a four-week, cross-blog celebration co-created by A Way to Garden and some of my very favourite food people: Matt Armendariz of Mattbites, Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, and Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple, with guest appearances from Shauna and Daniel Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl, Marilyn Pollack Naron of Simmer Till Done, and Paige Smith Orloff of The Sister Project, and hey, I wanted to be a part of it. Today the theme is fresh herbs, a topic that I could easily spend a whole lot of time on, if I had it. Today I have more parsley than time. Flat-leaf Italian parsley appears to be the only thing (besides tomatoes – they are growing so well they may just escape over the neighbour’s fence) that truly thrives in the little clay pots littering my back patio. Good thing I love it so much.
I’m constantly making an effort to eat more greens. There’s always spinach, kale and chard, but Italian parsley is dark and leafy, and can be added here and there without taking over. The kicker is parsley is so often seen as a garnish; a sprinkle to make potato salad look prettier, rather than an ingredient in and of itself. I typically add entire bunches of it to grainy salads and lentil-barley salads, and recently discovered how well it blends into hummus. But today, with a surplus of nubbly potatoes the size of walnuts and freshly shelled peas, I thought I’d make an easy potato salad (I crave it about this time every summer) where Italian parsley has as much a presence as any other vegetable.
Usually I roast potatoes for salad – they are crispier and more flavourful, and don’t absorb as much mayo so you can get away with using less – but this one needed to be a little more delicate. Scrub and simmer the potatoes (fingerlings would be stunning here) just until tender, adding a handful of fresh peas a few minutes before the potatoes finish cooking. Drain the lot in a colander, run it under cool water to stop them from cooking, and refrigerate until cold.
For the dressing, add a generous squeeze of lemon (and some grated zest, for extra pow) to as much mayo as you want to use. (The quantity of juice is really up to you – according to your taste – but it will thin it enough to dress the salad well – more the consistency of a creamy ranch dressing than thick mayo.) Toss the potatoes and peas with this, tear over a large handful or two of Italian parsley, removing any tough stems, and add a good grinding of black pepper. Today I can’t think of a more welcome lunch.
As for Summer Fest, you can play too – just visit the aforementioned sites (they are all beautiful posts, all well worth a stroll through) and leave your comments – about herbs of all kinds, including links to your own posts if you like, or your favourite online finds – remembering of course that I love to get comments too.
THE SUMMER FEST 2009 SCHEDULE:
Tuesday, July 28: HERBS (Any and all.)
Tuesday, August 4: FRUITS FROM TREES
Tuesday, August 11: BEANS-AND-GREENS WEEK
Tuesday, August 18: TOMATO WEEK
One Year Ago: Pizza on the grill, using Afghan flatbread