By Freya Bellin
In this dish, ultimate comfort food meets veggies, and they get along pretty well. Mashed potatoes are classically very buttery, but this version doesn’t suffer at all in the absence of milk or butter. The olive oil flavors the potatoes nicely, and although you don’t want to over-smash the potatoes in this dish, I was able to achieve a really creamy consistency, dairy-free. The greens add color and make the salad a little lighter, while the lemon offers a bright, springy, and zesty touch. The citrus is lovely but quite pervasive, so I would start with half a lemon’s worth of juice and add more to taste. I tossed in some salt and lots of extra black pepper at the end, which helped cut the lemon if you find it’s too strong. For those who like spice, try sprinkling red pepper flakes or cayenne on top. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
Smashed Potato Salad with Escarole
Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 45 minutes
The key to success here is to be generous with the olive oil, whose flavor takes mere potato and greens—whether escarole or any other strong-flavored green like radicchio, dandelion, endive, or chicory—from humble to sublime. This is perfect picnic food, with or without meat, cheese, or eggs (see the variations).
2 large baking or all-purpose potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into quarters
1 pound escarole or other greens (see the headnote), thick stems chopped
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup olive oil
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1. Put the potatoes in a large, deep pot and cover them with cold water. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until soft but not falling apart, 15 to 30 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Add the escarole to the water and cook until it wilts, a minute or 2. Rinse under cold water. Drain well, then chop.
2. Roughly crush the drained potatoes in a bowl with a fork or potato masher, leaving lots of lumps; add 1⁄4 cup oil and the lemon zest and juice. Mash in the escarole, adding more oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately (or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours; bring to room temperature before serving).
Potato and Escarole Salad with Parmesan and Frizzled Meat. While the potatoes are cooking, put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add 4 ounces chopped prosciutto, pancetta, or bacon, or crumbled sausage and cook until the pieces are crisp and brown, 3 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the remaining dressing ingredients, stir well, and transfer to a bowl. Add the potatoes and escarole. Garnish with 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan before serving.
Potato and Escarole Salad with Hard-Boiled Eggs. Add 1 or 2 chopped hard-boiled eggs to the salad along with the escarole in Step 2.