A bag of ‘baby new potatoes’ was cheap so I bought it. Ah, I see why they were cheap now. Some are the size of a mini-marbles and look as if they were born prematurely. Some are like hulking teenagers. No matter. The best potato salad has nothing to do with mayonnaise out of a bottle and everything to do with boiling the potatoes in their skins, skinning and then bathing them while still warm in a bright dressing of good oil, garlic, wine vinegar, shallot and parsley. Make it half an hour before you plan to eat it with cold meats, a quiche or wonderful cheeses and green salads, when it will have cooled to room temperature. Make the dressing in a small screwtop jar. You can store left over dressing in the fridge for several days.

Serves 2

250g new potatoes, ideally a waxy or ‘salad’ variety such as Charlottes or similar, but any new potatoes will work


For the dressing: fit the quantities to your jar, using two thirds of oil to one third of vinegar with a dollop of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste then a pinch of sugar

1 clove garlic

½ a small shallot or 1 spring onion

Handful fresh parsley

Olive oil

Wine vinegar

Dijon mustard


Black pepper

Pinch of sugar

Cut the potatoes into similar sizes, unpeeled. Boil them in salted water until they are cooked but still firm. Drain them and leave then to steam dry for about 5 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, crush the garlic, reduce the shallot to minute shreds and fine chop the parsley. Put the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar into the jar then add the shallot and parsley. Put the lid on and give it all a good shake.

Slip the skins off the potatoes – if they are still too hot to handle easily, hold them one at a time under a dribble of cold water. Slice them neatly into their serving bowl and turn them over in the dressing while they are still warm.