Its reunion time at the Jersey shore with my family and this year’s big hit on the Buffet Table, Potato Salad Dijon, which I’ve promised to Post this week for those wanting the recipe. With this recipe also includes a big shout out to Judy, and her lovely family from Vegas who joined us during the week! Bon Appetit All!
A bit different than the other easy beach meals during the weeks shore gathering; take out varieties of hoagies, cheese steaks, and pizza each tried from among the best shore venues, then consumed all throughout the day when any one feels like eating, the reunion barbecue holds a special meaning. It is the single meal we share together with extended family members not often seen throughout the year, and those special friends who over the years have become like family.
Its not so much that the reunion meal is fancy. Its simply a spread consisting of a diverse variety of dishes along with the common, grilled burgers, dogs, and chicken. But each dish is prepared well, with care. For me, the preparation for the reunion dinner is really about love. Reflection. Celebration. Appreciation.
In the true usual style of my brother in law Roger, and sister Carolyn, the spectacular eight bedroom property captured an amazing, dreamy view right on the beach, including every accessible amenity. Well, all except a Chef’s knife, that is. Yep, this little doozy below is what cut up five pounds of potatoes, parsley, onions, scallions, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and about most every other ingredient needing a chop for the selected salads and dishes for the reunion buffet. The knife required purpose and got me to thinking about my late father always encouraging towards making the best of everything, even minor challenges, such as my utensil of the day. It also enabled a bit of quiet time for reflection with the others just steps across the approximate six foot wide wooden slats making up the boardwalk opposite the soft grey sandy beach where the roaring waves rolled in.
There was something cathartic working amidst about a foot and a half of free space on the rectangular island whose speckled granite counter centered with a large double sized sink peeked out between numerous packed and varied shaped bottles of every type liquor (there is pretty much always a party going on with my family) and to the left an old fashioned hard rubber make-shift dish drainer whose grooves served to oddly balance sorted ingredients once prepped into the designated serving trays from what was available inside assorted cabinets. Definite shore ware.
The buffet tablecloth retrieved from the laundry cupboard area had everyone questioning if it might even be a shower curtain, but alas with no holes at the top we decided to go ahead with the wrinkled table sized beige covering with pretty sea colored shells and intermittent writing in another language. Perhaps the words revolving around seashells written in French were to magically make the plastic cloth a bit fancier.
Chop. Chop. Chop.
Whisk, whisk, whisk. Well, below I’ve used a whisk, let me share however, that you too, beyond creating a meal for thirty in a mere few hours can also whisk olive oil into the Dijon mustard using a fork, yes, a fork, and indeed it really does complete the task.
So when recreating Potato Salad Dijon for today’s Post, I am back in my own kitchen, with a whisk, and, a Chefs knife.
But not before capturing the special moments of sharing a family reunion meal. There is no kitchen utensil to replace the magic of those memories. A time to reflect on so many food memories with my father long past, and how delighted he would be in the gathering, especially that of my Uncles, his brothers, and their wives, my Aunts. While I think I’ve always shown appreciation to all of my aunts and uncles for those things they have done, its like the waves of the beach rolling in, each wave is different. This time the tide was not only about the little moments of the past, simple things really, like taking the cousins to see Mary Poppins, slipping you a few bucks here and there, this tide was about the positive ways those experiences and the times we have shared together have influenced my own life.
And then before you know it, like the many grains of sand, those past kindnesses, generosities, special moments, transcend into the goodness of love to future generations. Its all a part of the family reunion. And the loving preparation of Potato Salad Dijon, even when using a dull knife.
- 5 pounds white potatoes, peeled, cubed
- 2 small or 1 1/2 medium red onion, cut in half, sliced half moon shape
- one hard boiled egg, chopped
- 1/4- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/3 plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, approximately, more or less to taste
- few pinches cracked black pepper
- Peel potatoes and cut into cubes, approximately one inch size, more or less. Drop potatoes into boiling water to cook. Once potatoes are easily pierced all the way through with a fork, drain, set aside in a casserole dish and let cool. While potatoes are cooling place 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard into a mixing bowl. Using a wire whisk, drizzle olive oil a thin stream at a time into the Dijon whisking vigorously until the olive oil completely incorporates into the mustard before adding more. After whisking, the mixture should look like a lot of smooth mustard in the bowl.
- When potatoes are cooled, stir in red onion. Spoon in the Dijon and olive oil dressing, blending well, but gently, throughout the potato and onion mixture. Sprinkle in the chopped hard boiled egg, fresh chopped parsley, kosher salt, and cracked black pepper, stir. Refrigerate until one half hour before serving. Check seasoning adding in more salt and pepper to taste if desired.
- Salad yields enough for twenty at a barbecue when combined with a buffet table of other salads and meats