Hubby and I had just completed a 2-hour bike ride along the River Walk bike path. So lovely!!! After we loaded our bikes on the car and headed home I suggested we stop at the market on the way to pick up some salad fixings.
Who wants to cook after working so hard? Into the shopping cart went about 12 ounces of baby yellow potatoes, arugula, sweet peppers, romaine, and a whole list of other necessities. I could hardly wait to get home and start chopping. After all that pedaling, I was hungry!
One of my favorite food combos is potatoes and greens, and therefore one of my favorite salads is my lusciously warm potato salad with fresh chopped arugula, basil, and garlic… with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Pretty simple, and insanely goood!
Step one is to get those lovely baby potatoes boiling. While you could use roasted potatoes if you so wished, the texture of boiled potatoes is a lot more pleasing, and amenable to absorbing the flavors of other ingredients. I used baby yellow potatoes, but really any type of potato that you have on hand will be perfectly fine.
Once those were on the stove, in an inch or two of water, covered, and simmering away, I went out to my garden to harvest some basil and snipped off 5-6 nice sprigs. Basil is one of the few items in my garden that is growing particularly well, and I’ve been enjoying making various pesto, eggplant, and other dishes all summer. I popped the 9-10 little sweet peppers on the stove to get them roasting. They would make a lovely garnish to my salad, with enough remaining to save for later use as well.
Now it was just a matter of prepping everything else… chopping 4-5 cloves of garlic, tearing the basil leaves into pieces, chopping the arugula (with baby arugula this isn’t necessary), and that’s really about it. All this prep was easily done by the time the potatoes were done. Next I picked a pretty platter to serve the salad on, and added the drained, still hot, potatoes. It’s important to first drizzle the potatoes with oil and add the salt and pepper and lightly toss.
Then add the chopped garlic, arugula, and basil… all while the potatoes are still pretty warm. Then I added more fabulous extra-virgin olive oil. By the way, this is a great opportunity to use the best quality virgin olive oil that you have. I had a bottle one of my daughters had brought home for me from Italy and I made generous use of it here! Sooo good! Lastly, I took a few of the roasted sweet peppers and pulled off their charred skins (click here for my post on how to roast and peel peppers of all kinds)…
and added them to the potato salad. Within a few more minutes I put together a nice green salad (romaine, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, some chunks of dry ciabatta bread, micro greens, and some finely diced veggies for extra crunch) and heated up some leftover fettuccine (sauce of half marinara and half pesto – a lovely combo) with shaved parmigiana. A gourmet lunch for hubby and me, in under 30 minutes! So so so lovely! Don’t you agree?
I am partial to goat cheese and kalamata olives (hubby is not), so I added both to my green salad. We sat at our kitchen table on this warm lazy afternoon, looking out at the garden, and simply enjoying the moment, each other, and a meal prepared with love.
Warm Baby Potatoes with Arugula & Basil Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
You can try using different greens (herb salad mix, baby kale, parsley, etc.), and adding chopped scallions, pine nuts, or olives. This simple version with arugula and basil is my favorite! Baby potatoes are not a must; use whatever potatoes you have on hand – just be sure to cut into uniformly sized pieces when cooking. The roasted peppers are an optional garnish. Instead of small sweet peppers you may use a small orange or red bell pepper.
1-1/2 pounds baby potatoes
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2-3 cups (or more) of chopped arugula
1/4 cup chopped/torn basil leaves (more or less to taste)
5-6 roasted small sweet peppers
Boil potatoes until tender. Cut potatoes into bite size chunks (for fingerling or baby potatoes you may like to leave whole) and place in a serving bowl. Immediately, while still quite warm, drizzle potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add garlic. Then add chopped greens. Mix lightly. You may like to add a small dash of balsamic vinegar. Slice roasted pepper as desired and add as garnish. Drizzle with extra olive oil as desired.