Thoughts on Reluctant Harvesting 2: Easy Herb Extension

 

A herb potato salad recipe using summer vegetables concludes this post!

If harvesting brought out  latent maternal and protective instincts, it couldn’t be more evident than when it came to the pots of herbs gracing the edges of the deck. I loooove having fresh herbs–so much so that the pull of having them was outweighing the temptation of eating them. So often I’ve held back on recipes, or settled for mediocre versions, just due to the sheer cost and ensuing waste of herbs that had traveled far and were already perishing upon purchase. Finally growing the oft wistfully longed-for plants brought contentment that didn’t even require use. Thanks to the good old Miracle Gro guide and other resources, however, once again the recognition that trimming and picking would keep the plants healthier longer won out. Finally brushing aside hesitation and plucking fresh herbs for meals, I’ve been generously and immediately rewarded with the heady, distinct fragrances bursting from each leaf onto my fingers and straight to plates. Nothing livens up the simplest of dishes like fresh herbs, and any lingering scents and sensations of the meltingly collapsing leaves is delicious.

Even better, it turns out herbs are much easier and less time consuming to preserve for bleaker, later months than I’d previously presumed. Preserving to me has always been synonymous with canning, which, while enjoyable and successful, tends to be time-consuming and needs planning. Word is that herbs, however, can be dried or frozen fairly simply. This year, I’m going to try making purees of select herbs, ones with soft leaves more conducive to freezing than drying, like basil, cilantro, and parsley. I may also attempt mint. Process your herbs in a little water and pour the slurry into ice cube trays. When frozen, transfer the cubes into freezer bags, and pull out a flavorful cube to add to your favorite soups, stews, and other recipes throughout the winter.

Here’s a herbed potato salad that was quick to prepare and delicious with fresh herbs and vegetables from the garden. It’s basically a combination of a Cooking Light recipe and a favorite warm potato salad recipe  of unknown origins, except its faded index card. I didn’t actually measure anything when preparing, with the exception of the olive oil, mustard, and vinegar. Everything else was pretty much thrown in according to what I had, and was approximated. With these ingredients, it’s hard to really go wrong!

Herbed potato salad with peas and summer squash

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2  pounds  red potatoes
  • 2 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash, sliced
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh peas, shelled, or snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped gherkins or dill pickles
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup  chopped fresh chives
  • 3  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup  chopped fresh basil
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4  teaspoon  grated lemon rind
  • 3  tablespoons  apple cider vinegar
  • 2  tablespoons  dijon mustard
  • 1  tablespoon  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

 

Preparation

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. Slice potatoes into approximately 1-inch cubes, and place in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes or until tender. Drain;  place in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. Lightly coat grill pan with cooking spray. Grill squash on each side or until browned and tender. Remove squash from heat, and add to potatoes. Add peas and pickles.

4. In a small bowl, combine chives and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Pour  over potato mixture, tossing gently to combine. Serve salad warm or chilled.

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