A couple of weeks ago we had a little picnic for our baby boy with family and a few close friends. It was kind of a combined (very delayed) Welcome-to-the-World-Isac and Happy-First-Birthday celebration and it turned out to be a real gem of a day. It has basically been raining in Sweden all summer, but this day was filled with sunshine, good food, laughter and lots of chubby babies. Despite having written two cookbooks, we actually rarely cook for our friends. Instead we prefer going the picnic route, having everyone bringing something to share. It just makes it a lot easier to plan these kind of things instead of having to do everything yourself. It also makes for a more fun and spontaneous event.
We did actually end up cooking quite a lot anyway for this picnic. We made a few picnic pies, two monster versions of our Blueberry Cake (not shattered this time) and an adapted version of the potato salad from Sara Forte’s latest book Bowl+Spoon.
We got to read her book manuscript before it was published as we were asked to write a little quote for the back. Here is what we wrote: “We love that Sara’s recipes are always focused on ‘real’ ingredients, simple to prepare, and undoubtedly delicious. The bowl theme is brilliant and exactly how we prefer to eat our everyday meals.”
Apart from a few other favourites in the book, we have been making different versions of Sara’s potato salad at least five times this summer. It’s incredibly flavourful with lots of fresh herbs and capers, and also has a tangy zing from white wine vinegar. The original recipe calls for hard-boiled eggs and it’s an excellent combo, but we have also been playing with other (vegan) sources of protein. One time we tried beluga lentils and here we are using chickpeas. We added kale and apple to make it less of a side dish and more of a complete meal. As the name implies, this is great to pack on a picnic but it is also a good indoor meal. And when your kids are tired of having potato salad for the fifth time, you can fry the leftovers in a pan into a quick and flavourful hash.
Herby Picnic Potato Salad with Kale, Apple & Chickpeas
Recipe adapted from Bowl+Spoon by Sara & Hugh Forte. We usually make an extra large (almost double) batch of the vinaigrette because it’s so good. If your white wine vinegar is very sweet, you can add some lemon juice for extra zing.
2 pounds/1 kg small new potatoes
Coarse Herb Vinaigrette
3 tbsp pickled capers
2 spring onions or green onions
2 cups loosely packed herbs (a mix of chives, parsley, basil and top greens from the celery)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup cold pressed oil
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 apples, diced
3 celery stalks (save the top greens for the vinaigrette), finely diced
2 leaves kale, chard or spinach, chopped
1 can (14 oz/400 g) cooked chickpeas, rinsed
Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover them with water and bring the water to a boil. Boil for 12-15 minutes until they are cooked through but not falling apart – just until you can easily pierce a sharp knife through the center. Drain and set aside to cool.
In a food processor, blitz capers and their brine, onions, basil, parsley, chives, celery greens, vinegar, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper until you get a coarse vinaigrette. Quarter the potatoes and collect them in a larger mixing bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the just-cooled potatoes and gently toss to coat. It will look like a lot of dressing, but the potatoes soak it up as they sit. Stir celery, apples, kale and chickpeas into the potatoes. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.