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A Refreshing Riff on Potato Salad

A Refreshing Riff on Potato Salad
May 2018

Lighten up your Memorial Day spread with Harbinger Cafe’s spin on the classic side dish with sweet peas and basil-mint pesto


(Serves 10)

5 lb. russet potatoes
1 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sweet pea pesto (recipe follows)
2 cups (60 g) baby spinach
2 cups (60 g) arugula
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup fresh, local sweet peas (toasted if frozen)

For the sweet pea pesto:

(Makes 2 cups)

2 cloves garlic
2 cups (60 g) basil
1 cup (30 g) mint
1 cup sweet peas
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 cup vegan mayonnaise (Just Mayo brand preferred)

Pulse the garlic in a food processor. Add all of the other ingredients, except for the mayo, and process until the mixture has a consistency that’s mostly smooth with slight chunks. Add the mayo and process just until combined.

To make the salad:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Dice the potatoes; place them in a large mixing bowl; and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out on baking sheets. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are brown and fork-tender. Let cool completely.

Once the potatoes are cool, place them in a large mixing bowl, and add one cup of pesto to start—you may need to add more, depending on how creamy you like your salad—and mix. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature.

The potato salad can be made the day before, but be sure to bring to room temperature before serving. Sealed and stored in the refrigerator, it will keep for up to three days.

Chef’s Tips:

■ Pass the pesto: “Leftover pesto goes with everything,” Gilchrist says. “You can scramble it with eggs, use it on bread, or add it to any hot or cold pasta. I like to mix it with tahini and spread it on toast.”
■ Easy-peasy picnic: Gilchrist advises making the potato salad the night before, but leaving out the spinach and arugula. “The day of, add the greens and a little more pesto to freshen it up, then toss,” she notes.
■ Mayo your way: While Gilchrist uses egg-free mayonnaise, for those craving a more traditional taste, she suggests Ken’s Extra Heavy Mayo. “It may be blasphemy to not pick Duke’s in the South, but it’s my absolute favorite!” she says.

Meet the Chef: Greer Gilchrist

Growing up with three brothers in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Greer Gilchrist remembers stirring batter and stamping out sugar cookies—and snacking on a little too much dough—as a tot. “My adoration of sugar and baking started early,” she laughs. “I learned most of my cooking skills from my mother. And my dad loves cookies, so I loved making them for him.” Her passions for pastry making and plant-based cooking grew, landing her jobs in cafés and bakeries throughout Boston and Washington, D.C.—which is where she met her future business partner, Cameron Neal. Last year, the two traveled south to open Harbinger Cafe in Wagener Terrace, where the chef turns out healthy-ish baked goods and seasonal salads, like this spin on the potato side dish with pesto and peas. Though her version is vegan and gluten-free, it’s still satisfying. Gilchrist promises, “I test all of my recipes on my hungry brothers, and this one won them over.”