Garlicky mustard vinaigrette adds moxie to this side (or main) dish
Cookouts are around the corner. That means potato salad on the picnic table.
But we like it even better on our dining room table. Add in some sausage, and it can even serve as a main course. Bonus: It’s quick and easy enough to make for a weeknight meal.
Tot another one up for taters.
Recipe: Potato and Sausage Salad
This dish just basically adds sausage to classic French Potato Salad.
What kind of sausage should you use? Something with a bit of kick, we say. Kielbasa or polish sausage are good (and available everywhere). Italian sausage, Mexican chorizo, or andouille work too. If you can find a French-style garlic sausage, that would be superb.
Prep plus cooking time for this dish adds up to about 20 - 30 minutes. You can serve this dish warm or at room temperature (see Notes).
This recipe yields 4 side-dish servings, or 2 to 3 main-course servings. If serving it as a main, you may want to add a green salad.
Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- salt to taste (a couple of pinches of kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (maybe half a dozen grinds for us)
For the salad:
- ~1 pound of potatoes (see Notes)
- ~1 tablespoon salt for seasoning the potato cooking water
- ~6 ounces sausage (see recipe headnote for suggestions)
- ~2 teaspoons olive oil for cooking the sausage (optional; see Notes)
- ¼ cup chopped scallions (or to taste)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- additional salt to taste, if needed
- First, make the vinaigrette: Combine all the ingredients (garlic, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper) in a small container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until the ingredients are well combined. Set aside until needed. (See Notes if you want to prepare this in advance.)
- Scrub the potatoes well, then peel them or not, according to your preference. Chop the potatoes roughly into chunks of about ¾ inch (or cut them into slices of any thickness you prefer). Add the potatoes to a cooking pot filled with cold water (a couple quarts of water is more than enough). Season the water with salt to taste. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. They should be just the slightest bit firm, but not at all crunchy. (This usually takes about 8 minutes for potatoes that are chunked to the size we suggest. See Notes for more on cooking time.)
- Meanwhile, cut the sausage into slices of about ¼ inch in thickness. Place a large frying pan over medium stovetop heat. When it’s hot, add the olive oil (if using), then the sausage slices. Sauté the sausage slices until they’re brown on both sides (perhaps 5 minutes total, but see Notes). Remove the sausage slices with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels.
- While the sausage is cooking, add the chopped scallions to a large, heatproof bowl.
- When the potatoes are cooked (Step 2), drain them well and add them to the bowl with the scallions. Immediately add the vinaigrette (from Step 1) and mix together. Let the mixture sit for 2 to 3 minutes, until the potatoes have cooled somewhat and absorbed much of the vinaigrette. Then add the cooked sausage slices (Step 3) and the minced parsley. Toss with the potatoes until well mixed (make sure not to break up the potatoes too much).
- Taste, add salt if necessary, and serve.
- This dish tastes best warm (right after it’s been made) or at room temperature – so you can let it sit for an hour or so before serving. If you’re making this dish in advance, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, then let it stand at room temperature for at least 45 minutes before serving.
- We often make the vinaigrette ahead of time, then refrigerate it in an airtight container until ready to use. Before adding it to the salad, we let it sit at room temperature for at least 45 minutes.
- For extra flavor, we sometimes toss the warm potatoes (Step 5) with a couple or three tablespoons of dry vermouth or dry white wine (chicken stock or a couple tablespoons of potato cooking water would work too, but the end result won’t be as tasty). We let the warm potatoes marinate in the vermouth/wine for a couple of minutes (until they’ve absorbed the liquid), then add the vinaigrette. We toss the potatoes with the dressing, then add the sausage and parsley and toss again.
- If you’re using a precooked sausage (like kielbasa), you just need to cook the sausage long enough to warm it through and brown it as much as you like. If you’re using an uncooked sausage (like Italian or Mexican chorizo), make sure to cook it long enough so that the sausage is completely done.
- BTW, most sausage contains enough fat that you probably don’t need to add olive oil to the pan to cook it. We do so because it makes browning the slices a bit easier.
- What kind of potatoes to use in this recipe? Go for a waxy variety, not a mealy baking potato. Yukon gold or any of the red-skinned varieties would work well.
- Peel the potatoes or not? Your choice. If the potato skin is at all green, peel. The green is chlorophyll, which indicates that a toxin called solanine is present in the potato. The amount of solanine that you’ll find in potatoes is pretty minute, so it probably won’t make you sick, but why take chances? (BTW, potato leaves and stems are loaded with solanine, which is why we don’t eat them.)
- If you peel the potatoes and then cook them in water, you do lose some nutrients. But most of us have diets that aren’t remotely nutrient deficient, so it’s not a major problem.
- Cooking time for the potatoes depends on how big the pieces are. If you cut the potatoes into slices of ¼ inch or less, they’ll take only minutes to cook (maybe 3 or 4). If you cook the potatoes whole (then peel and slice them after cooking), they can take a good 20 minutes to cook. If in doubt – and we usually are – start testing the potatoes minutes before you think they’ll be done. (To test, we use a thin knife and poke a slice or two; when there’s just the barest resistance, the potato is probably done. If still in doubt, we fish out a piece and take a bite.)
- Need some ingredient substitutions or additions? You can substitute shallots or onions for the scallions. If using Mexican chorizo, you may want to add some chopped jalapeño pepper to the mix. And maybe add some hot sauce to the vinaigrette. If using Cajun andouille, you might want to add chopped celery and green bell pepper (and again add hot sauce to the vinaigrette). You get the idea.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Mon dieu!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “French potato salad is my fave. Add sausage to the mix, and it’s taterly delicious.”
“Yup, this recipe cuts the mustard,” I said. “It takes meat and potatoes to a whole ‘nother level.”
“It’s really appeeling,” said Mrs K R. “Spud-tacular, you might say.”
And you thought my potato puns were pomme de terrible.
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