For some reason I keep returning to potato salads this summer. Chilled meals just make more sense. I like to get whatever has to be cooked out of the way in the morning so I’m home free when evening rolls around and I have supper on the table pronto!

Planning summer meals is so easy with the abundance of all the fresh herbs and salad greens available in local farmers markets. Herbs add that taste of summer to marinades, dressings and, of course, pesto! A chilled basil pesto dressing turns a potato salad into the main attraction on the table.

 

And don’t stop there. Make hay while it shines and squirrel away batches of pesto in your freezer. There is nothing like bringing the taste of summer to the table in the dead of winter!

 

 

 

A Summery Pesto Potato Salad with watercress

Plan to cook the potatoes several hours before making the potato salad. The potatoes must be well chilled before making the salad.

  • 2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cut into a bite size wedges
  • water to cover
  • sea salt

Put the cut potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover. Add salt and bring to a low boil. Cook until the potatoes are al dente. Gently pour the potatoes into a large colander and drain well. Once cool, transfer the potatoes to a large bowl, cover with cling film, and put them in the fridge to chill for several hours.

Basil Pesto

  • 3 cups chopped fresh sweet Italian basil leaves
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ to ¾ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup pine nuts, macadamia nuts. or cashew nuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup finely grated Parmigiana cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cold water if needed

Place the chopped basil, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a food processor, blender, or a bowl if using an immersion blender. Blend until emulsified.

Add the nuts and blend until smooth. Add the parmigiana and black pepper and pulse until combined.

Taste the pesto and add salt if needed. If the pesto seems a little thick add a little olive oil or
cold water and pulse until the pesto is the consistency you prefer.

 

Basil Pesto Dressing

  • 1 cup basil pesto
  • 1 tablespoon Grey Poupon mustard
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup full  fat Greek yogurt

combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir the dressing by hand until well combined. cover and refrigerate.

Refrigerator freeze the reaming pesto for later use.

Basil Pesto Potato Salad

  • 3/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • precooked diced potatoes
  • basil pesto dressing
  • fresh watercress

 

Place the onions, celery, and potatoes in a large bowl. Toss the ingredients using your hands and set aside, or refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the salad.

Serving

Add generous dollops of the dressing to the salad and toss gently using large wooden salad spoons.

Line a large serving bowl or platter with fresh watercress Top with the potato salad and chill the salad until the very last minute before serving!

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