I don’t normally make a lot of salads, especially potato or pasta salads, but there’s a whole section of cookbook devoted to them so I figured I better get going. Since I was making brisket and BBQ chicken this week, I thought potato salad would be a good choice to go with them. The ATK book has four potato salad recipes and I chose the French potato salad recipe. It’s the lightest recipe and the simplest.
One of the ATK tricks for this recipe is to toss the potatoes with white wine vinegar and salt immediately after cooking and then chill so that the potatoes absorb the flavor. The dressing was made of more vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil, and fresh parsley. As I tossed it, I was worried that it was going to be too strong, too vinegary. I let it rest in the fridge for several hours before we ate and was surprised how much the flavor had mellowed and been absorbed by the potatoes. It was really good and Justin raved about it, when I had worried he wouldn’t like it at all.
At something close to the last minute, I decided to make spinach to go with the potato salad and leftover brisket. I had thought that I knew how to saute spinach pretty well. But I followed the instructions for ATK’s Spinach with Garlic and Lemon. It tells you to heat oil over high heat and then cook the spinach (adding in small handfuls) for 30 seconds to 1 min before removing the spinach to a colander and squeezing the liquid out. Then heating more oil over medium, adding garlic for 15 seconds and adding the spinach back to toss. After removing the spinach from the heat it is seasoned with lemon juice and salt to taste. I would normally never cook spinach over such high heat, but it worked really well and really only took about a minute to cook. Plus, I was able to complete that step and leave the spinach in the colander until just before we were ready to eat, then finish the dish. I also have never had spinach with lemon juice, but it tasted really good. Again, Justin raved about it. I think the America’s Test Kitchen book has again changed my standard way of cooking something.