Mountain Rose Potato & Fava Bean Salad
Writing has been on my to do list for the past two weeks. If that seems like an ambiguous and actually kind of stupid thing to put on a to-do list, it is. How do you time block something that becomes more elusive the more you try and schedule it or ultimately check off something that is technically never done? For better or worse it's on there. All the time. Sometimes I think to-do lists can distract us from what we should actually be doing. But you’d never suspect it because the whole point of a to-do list is productivity. But at the end of the day, no matter how many menial tasks you’ve managed to check off for the sake of just being able to point to something tangible and say you did something measurable with the past 18 or so waking hours of your life, if what remains left unchecked is the stuff that really matters, well, how much did you actually get done? A friend recently gave me a copy of this book called The Crossroads of Should and Must. It’s a sweet little read, colorfully illustrated and without distraction you can finish it in an hour flat. You know when you come across something that perfectly puts into words something you didn’t even know you were struggling with?
On any given day, instead of writing, I'll make a pedicure appointment, vacuum my floor, fill my pepper grinder, hit the gym, call my best friend, and file the epic mountain of receipts that have piled up on my desk. In the back of my mind I’m thinking, “Once I get this stuff done I’ll have the mental space to write/shoot/cook/do what’s really important. But I just can’t focus until this other stuff gets done.” Hence the crossroads of should and must. All those tasks DO need to get done. They're all the things that as a responsible, self-sustaining adult, I should do. They're much easier to quantify and when I do them, on paper I look productive. But my soul is less convinced and certainly less satisfied. What my soul needs, my must, is to write. Or cook. Or shoot. It's a different kind of sense of completion when those things get done.
All this to say, I haven’t quite been the multi-tasker that I thought I was or have known myself to be the past couple of weeks. I knew work would explode after the 4th of July holiday and it did. And I’m exhausted. And all of those should's really piled up. But there are only a few days left in August and if I don’t get off my ass than all of the pretty pictures I took of things made of summer will be obsolete. So here, in an attempt to put my musts before my shoulds, is potato salad. Simple. Humble. Potato salad. But with a serious summer market spin.
I'll pretty much believe whatever a darling farmhand tells me on a Saturday morning while wandering the stands so when one told me these Mountain Rose potatoes were his favorite I started picking through for the prettiest of pretties. A food styling habit. You might be tempted to gloss over a quiet picture of humble potatoes but if you look closer you'll see that underneath a soft, flaky outer peel is a fiery pink skin. Hence the name. I like that metaphor. Beat up from the growth process on the outside but underneath something like you've never seen before and never would have anticipated. Inside they're a radiant shade of violet with the creamiest dreamy texture like that of a Yukon Gold (the ones that make the best mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving) but still firm enough to hold their shape in a salad like this without turning into a disintegrated mess when tossed with other ingredients. And those pretty little purply flowers are leek blossoms. I know. You see why I'm so in love with food? I mean leek blossoms...who knew? They're crisp and taste exactly like, well, leeks. And they make a stunning garnish.
Only an Idaho girl would get so worked up over potatoes, right? It's about time to go home, actually. I miss my tinies. I need to hug my mom. My head hurts. I need some sunshine. All the shoulds have me missing my musts and there's no place like home to make space for them. Wheels up one week from today and I can't wait.
Mountain Rose Potato and Fava Bean Salad
All this goodness tossed in a riff on a recipe for herb-laden Green Goddess dressing from the gorgeous cookbook by Renee Erickson A Boat, a Whale, & a Walrus. Happy summering and here's to home.
1 lb red new potatoes (Mountain Rose if you see them at your market)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 lb fresh fava beans, shucked from their large pods
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
Chive or leek blossoms to garnish (totally optional)
For the green goddess dressing
1/2 cup aioli or mayo
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used a sheep's milk variety)
1/4 each roughly chopped parsley, basil, and tarragon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the potatoes and salt in a medium-sized sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until a knife can be easily inserted into the center, about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. While the potatoes cook fill a bowl with ice water and set aside. Add the fresh fava beans to the pot with the potatoes for the last 30 seconds of cooking. Drain everything into a colander then transfer into the ice bath to chill. Quarter the potatoes and place in a bowl. To remove the favas from their outer skin (you really gotta work for these guys but it's worth it) tear a hole in one end with your fingers and pinch. The bean should slip right out. Add to the potatoes along with the sliced spring onions. To make the dressing combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and let it run for a few until the herbs are finely chopped and the mixture is a pale green color. Pour half a cup of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. You can serve it immediately but it will be even better if you cover and refrigerate allowing the salad to marinate for a few hours. Add additional dressing if desired (quantity is totally a matter of preference), garnish and serve.