weeknight gourmet

Two Great Summer Sides: Cucumber Feta Salad and Roasted Potato Salad with Crispy Proscuitto & Mustard Vinaigrette

We are on the Jersey Shore until Labor Day.  It’s been a great getaway — there is nothing I find more relaxing than the beach!  This weekend we had some friends visit us and we had lots of good food — grilled pork chops, grilled clams, steak!  So delicious.  We indulged in some amazing Jersey tomatoes and corn.

To accompany our dinners I made a couple of great side dishes from Fine Cooking (a new favorite recipe source) — Cucumber Feta Salad and Roasted Potato Salad with Crispy Proscuitto & Mustard Vinaigrette

Tim’s mom had visited a week ago and brought LOTS of cucumbers from their garden.  So first up was to find a tasty looking cucumber salad.  I love the combo of cucumbers and feta so this recipe caught my eye.  So simple, yet so much flavor from the fresh dill and mint, saltiness from the feta, and sweetness from the onion.  I don’t usually think of cucumber salad as a crowd-pleaser, but everyone loved the salad!

I love potato salad but I tend to favor German potato salad over the traditional mayonnaise-based ones.  This potato salad reminded me of a German potato salad only better!  It uses diced roasted Yukon Golds which have a lot more flavor than your typical boiled potatoes.  The salad includes prosciutto, diced cornichons, and a shallot-Dijon vinaigrette.   The salad was a HIT — not a single potato remained! 

Cucumber & Feta Toss with Mint & Dill
Fine Cooking

  • 2 medium seedless English cucumbers (about 1-1/2 lb.)
  • 4 oz. feta, crumbled (scant 1 cup)
  • One-half medium sweet onion (such as Vidalia, Maui, or Walla Walla), sliced lengthwise as thinly as possible
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Trim the ends of the cucumbers. With a vegetable peeler, peel them in 1/2-inch intervals, leaving 1/2-inch strips of peel intact. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise, scoop out and discard the core, and then cut them into 3/4-inch dice.

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, feta, onion, mint, and dill.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently toss the dressing with the cucumber mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with the mint leaves (if using), and serve.

 

Roasted Potato Salad with Crispy Prosciutto & Mustard Vinaigrette
Fine Cooking

  • 4 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 oz.)
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely diced (1/4 inch) cornichons or gherkins
  • 3 Tbs. grainy or whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. white-wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe Simple Roasted Potatoes
  • 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut the prosciutto crosswise into 1/2-inch strips. Arrange the strips in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake, watching closely, until crisp and light golden, 6 to 8 minutes. With a spatula, loosen the prosciutto from the pan and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil, the cornichons, mustard, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

Add the warm shallot-mustard vinaigrette to the potatoes along with the reserved prosciutto and parsley. Toss, taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.

 

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