Monday, December 6

Winning potato salad, and a festive jam of the non traffic variety......

Ok, I must confess this potato hasn't ACTUALLY won anything, but I feel like I have thrashed tasty, lovely, delish and beautiful lately, and if it did enter X Factor who knows..........judging by what I have seen on reality TV recently anything is possible. At any rate it is really gorgeous, smokey, creamy but not to heavy for summer, yum.

Potato and salmon salad with asparagus and creamy herb dressing.

This salad was born out on a discussion (aka argument) I had with one of my sisters about the correct dressing for a potato salad (yes, we should both probably get out more....) She likes tangy vinaigrette; I like something a bit creamier. This is a mix of both. The warm potato is dressed with vinegar and a splash of oil, then cooled and mixed with a sour cream dressing, less rich than a full mayo version. The salmon gives a smokey depth of flavour, and is a great way to make hot smoked salmon, which can be expensive, go a long way without feeling in any way mean.........

1 kg waxy new potatoes (Jersey Benne are perfect for this)
A bunch of asparagus, chopped into 2cm lengths (approx)
Splash of vinegar
Splash of olive oil
Salt & pepper
A bunch of spring onions, sliced
Handful of chopped parsley
Flaked hot smoked salmon-as much or as little as you like


2 tbsp of chives, chopped
2 tbsp dill, chopped
Handful fresh sorrel chopped (if you have it)
1 tsp capers, drained or rinsed if in salt
½ cup mayo (homemade or from a jar)
3/4 cup sour cream or cream fraiche, or yogurt if you want to lighten it up further
Squeeze of lemon juice

Begin by steaming or boiling your potatoes with a sprig of mint until tender. When the potatoes are nearly ready add the asparagus to cook for a couple of minutes until just tender (not mushy!). Drain and tip into a bowl. Splash over your vinegar and oil, about a couple of teaspoons of each. You are not drenching the vegetables, just adding a wee bit of liquid for them to soak up as they cool

While they cool, make your dressing by whisking all the ingredients together in a small bowl. If it is very thick you can thin the dressing out with water. Taste for seasoning, then fold gently through your cooled potato and asparagus with the spring onions, parsley, gherkins if using and your smoked salmon.
You don’t want mush so go easy with the mixing!

You can add other bits and pieces to this, preserved lemon is fabulous, and celery. I have also made it with prawns rather than salmon, which was also really satisfying.

If you want something lighter, or are making this to accompany another protein you can actually leave the fish out all together
When asparagus isn’t in season, you could use french beans, broad beans (peeled please!) or sugar snap peas, something with a bit of crunch is nice I think.

I wanted to make something to give to two of our neighbours who have been particularly "neighbourly" recently, and with an abundance of strawberries about at the moment, jam seemed the perfect choice. I tried strawberry jam last summer, ending up with astonishingly sweet ice-cream didn't set. A common problem with strawberries, which have a low pectic count, the thing which makes jam "jammy". But never one to give up (I'm a Taurus, I have heard the word stubborn if) I came across a product called Jam Sugar, which contains added pectin. It makes jam making so easy anyone (i.e me) can do it........

Strawberry and Vanilla Jam

Add a pack of the jam sugar to a kg of fruit in a large saucepan (I used my preserving pan) , the instructions on the pack said to mash the fruit up but I like whole strawberries in my jam so I didn't. I also added 1 tbsp of vanilla bean paste.
Stir over a low heat until the sugar melts, then crank the heat up and boil rapidly for about 5-7 minutes, until a drop of jam on a cold saucer will set when you run you finger through it. Take of the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes (this is supposed to stop all the fruit floating to the top)
Pour into sterilised jars, I do this by placing my clean jars & lids in a oven set at 120C for 10 minutes. Pop the lids on when cold, not before or the moisture can create mould under the lid.

For more detailed instructions check out the Chelsea site here

This looked so pretty, and after having a big dollop on my crumpets this morning I can confirm it tastes really great, full of big chunks of fruit, with a faint hint of vanilla..............your neighbours will love you.

P.S the cute labels are courtesy of NZ Gardener magazine!


  1. ah taurus, me too, stubborn huh heard that one before ..... loving the salad, love a creamy dressing, and i made that mustard chicken thingy you made a while ago, i made nigels version because i had it printed out, looked bad, curdled yes but tasted gooooooooooood mmmm creamy mmmmmmmm

  2. yum! I made strawberry jam yesterday, but it was an impromptu affair so I didn't have any jam sugar or anything with pectin, really... I suspect it will be more the "ice-cream sauce" variety ;)
    But still, can't beat the flavour of homemade jam!

  3. Me Taurus 3 :) stubborn maybe but also determined! Beautiful salad. And a nice wee plug for NZ Gardener :)

  4. I love the compromise on salad dressing..keep everyone happy!

    I don't worry if my jam doesn't set, I usually halve my sugar so it is a common for mine. I just tell them it is French style and hope they have never eaten French jam LOL!

  5. For the most part I can't stand potato salad. But I'm talking about the store-bought kind. Looking through your potato salad I can definitely see myself eating it and then say "mmmmmmmmm". I love the idea of adding salmon and asparagus!


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