I finally admitted it to myself. August is my favourite month of the year; hands down. A few years ago, if I had been asked, I would have quickly stated July; “It’s the height of summer!” “The days are mostly sun-filled and hot!” “Fall (Winter) is so far away.” But over the years, I have come to realize that I’m happiest during the month of August. Over the past few years we have had some amazing summer days in our neck of the woods during this mid-summer month. Plus the sun begins to set earlier which means three things: 1) easier nights with ever-darkening rooms; 2) the stars making their reappearance; & 3) the aurora begin dancing their way across the sky again. I also enjoy the end of the month, when Kyle and I can snuggle under blankets when the sun sets and the air cools, and enjoy a glass (or two) of wine and settle for the evening – well, obviously that will be a little different this year for this pregnant lady, but you get the idea.
And of course, I fully realized my love for August because it means that some of my favourite fresh foods are at their peak. I’ve gushed again and again on the blog, Twitter, and Pinterest about my love of in-season tomatoes. But oh there is so much more to look forward to: the arrival of this years’s apples; juicy berries (some picked right around home!); sweet corn; and ripe stone-fruit. But what I really enjoy is the bounty I begin to receive from my herb garden. Of course I pick away slightly during the month of July, when the little seedlings begin to offer me a slight tease of what’s to come. But when August rolls around, I am engulfed with the glorious flavours of intensely fresh and flavourful rosemary, thyme, parsley, chives, tarragon, mint, and basil that I clip each day, without ever running out.
So this weekend I made an incredibly simple potato salad – that highlighted the new potatoes used, as well as showcased a few of the herbs plucked straight from my “garden.” Everything came together so easily that it felt like I barely lifted a finger. The only chopping that I did was for the herbs, and if you want to get really lazy about it, you could simply snip them with some kitchen shears (of course this may slightly affect the flavours since the herbs wouldn’t be finely chopped … but it’s summer, no need to break a sweat unnecessarily). We greedily devoured the leftovers from this salad tonight, and discovered that it tastes even more amazing the following day. So if you have the patience, I suggest making this a full 24-hours in advance. Of course if you’re like me, you wouldn’t be able to help yourself before then, so know that the salad is really great the day of too.
Herby Potato Salad
I am certain this salad would taste just as good with any combination of fresh herbs you would like. Perhaps a Greek-inspired mix of fresh oregano, thyme, and maybe a wee bit of rosemary … or maybe something more “traditional” with a big bunch of dill in place of the tarragon. The possibilities are endless, but the point is to back off from all the other things we add to potato salad; while pickles, radishes, onions, celery and all the rest are delicious in potato salad, they don’t belong in this one.
1.5 – 2 lbs of baby potoatoes – preferably yukon gold or red-skinned potatoes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
Clean the potatoes and place them in a medium pot. Cover with cold water 2″ above the potatoes and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, vinegar, tarragon, salt, mustard, and pepper in a medium bowl. When the potatoes are cooled, place them in the bowl and mix thoroughly to dress the potatoes. Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
When you’re ready to serve, stir in the parsley and 1 Tbsp of the chives into the salad. Sprinkle the remaining chives over the top of the salad and serve cold or at room temperature (make sure to not leave the salad out for too long or in the heat due to the mayonnaise).