I love to look at pictures of famous people. People.com is my guilty pleasure, but I actually don’t bother with most of the crap on their website. I don’t care about reality stars or royals– I only care about the real famous people! Don’t show me pictures of the attention seekers; show me pictures of Jessica Chastain and Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence and people with actual talent. I don’t even know why I look at Star Tracks, which is the section that publishes pictures paparazzi take as stars are leaving the gym or Whole Foods. It takes forever to load each page, and the pictures of celebs in fancy dresses at awards shows is where the real entertainment is. Who can resist pictures of pretty dresses? Surely not me.
I was obviously bored in front of a computer too many hours when I worked in an office, because when I eat this pesto potato salad, I think it’s the sort of thing a celebrity would eat for lunch (since Jennifer Aniston ate a Cobb salad for lunch for 10 years while filming Friends). See, I really wish that I didn’t know these random facts, but I do, so I’m just gonna embrace it. Random useless facts are always fun to pull out at parties.
Back to this salad though: If you have any basil plants outside and fear the cooler weather might get to them, make this before it does. If you have basil plants inside and they have suddenly overgrown (which mine had), this recipe is calling your name. If you like pesto, even just a little, you need to make this creamy pesto and use it for the salad.
The dressing is creamy from a little Greek yogurt and mayo, and it’s full of flavor– the basil, Parmesan, and pine nuts are a tradition too good to change. A little parsley, vinegar and lemon juice brighten the flavors, and tender potatoes coated in the sauce placed atop spicy, lightly dressed arugula complement each other splendidly. The punch from arugula and burst from tomatoes create enough contrast that you feel like you’re eating a salad, not a just a potato salad, and that’s because it is a real salad. It’s a healthy, delicious and interesting combination that is perfect for the end of summer and good enough to eat several days in a row.
Notes: Any kind of potato works. I used russet because that’s what I had, but waxy potatoes such as new potatoes would be great for this.
If you only want one or two servings at a time, only dress enough potatoes for those servings, and refrigerate the dressing and potatoes separately. Additionally, reduce the amount of arugula and tomatoes for fewer servings at once as well.
1 ½ pounds potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1 inch square pieces
1 ½ cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh parsley leaves
1 ounce (about a 1 inch by 2 inch piece) grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pine nuts
½ teaspoon salt
arugula, roughly 4-6 cups
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Set on stove and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, strain put in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Put basil, parsley, Parmesan, yogurt, mayo, vinegar, pine nuts, the juice of 1/2 lemon and salt in the bowl of a mini-chopper or food processor. Pulse until blended– you may need to scrape down the bowl to ensure that everything is well blended.
3. In a serving bowl, stir together the juice from the other half of a lemon and a glug (about 1 tablespoon) of olive oil. Toss in the arugula and cherry tomatoes. Add the creamy pesto to the bowl with the potatoes and toss to coat.
4. Serve the arugula on plates, and then top with potatoes. Bon appetit !