Your potatoes deserve better

Things that are delicious:

  • Onion dip
  • Spinach dip
  • Twice-baked potatoes
  • Cheesecake

Things that are not delicious:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour cream
  • Cream cheese

Call it a nuance, a character flaw, an endearing quirk – I am passionate in my distaste for creamy white condiments (hungry yet?). Disguise them as a lake for my potato chips or after-dinner sugar bomb or over-priced a la carte side, however, and I’m the first to welcome their presence with an open mouth.

But mayonnaise in particular, that’s the most difficult to sneak past my all too knowing palette. I eat club sandwiches dry, I glare at every hoagie maker who dares to ask if I want mayo on my Italian sub (not as much because it’s mayo, but because there are things you just don’t do to an Italian sub out of respect and common sense), and (perhaps the worst offense of all) I can’t get into my own mom’s family-famous potato salad.

Some girls have limits when it comes to the height of the men they date and the number of cranberry vodkas they’ll let a stranger buy them before feeling remotely guilty; I put my foot down when it comes to Americans’ favorite condiment.

In some attempt at balance, I’ve recently discovered that, despite my failed affair with mayo (and Miracle Whip, for that matter. because there really is no difference), I’m fully capable of sustaining a long-term dalliance with dijon mustard.

Because why settle for Jeffrey Dean Morgan when Javier Bardem is alive, exotic and well?

Thankfully, the cosmos must be jumping on the condiment snobbery bandwagon because this recipe recently fell into my web browser and I don’t think there’s any turning back.

Let’s face it, very few things can keep a girl and her starch apart.

Dijon Lentil Potato Salad
Makes 4-6 servings. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

2 shallots (a.k.a onion babies a.k.a. purple garlic) 1 halved, 1 finely chopped
1 c dry lentils (I used “green”…Jewel-Osco blows in their selection)
Salt + pepper
1 lb fingerling potatoes (feel free to use the multi-colored assortments for shallow aesthetic reasons)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced finely
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 c olive oil
2 tbsp cornichons/sour gherkins, roughly chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
(Optional) cup of kale, rinsed & chopped

Rinse off your lentils and place in a small saucepan with the halved shallot, some salt and pepper and 4 cups of water. Simmer over medium heat for 25-30 minutes. You do not want mushy lentils. Check them at 20/25 minutes for sure; you want them al dente. Drain the lentils and set aside, tossing the soggy shallot.

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Sultry

In a separate pot while the lentils are doing what they do, cover your potatoes in 1-2 inches of cold water. Bring the pot to a simmer. These should only need around 15 minutes from the time you stern the stove on; you’re g2g if the potatoes are easily speared by a fork/toothpick. Drain.

For the dressing: dump the chopped shallot and red wine vinegar into a small bowl or X-tra large measuring cup and let stand for a couple minutes to marry. Stir in the garlic, dijon, a touch of salt/pepper and the olive oil. Then mix in the cornichons and scallions. The smell alone should blast open your sinuses in such a way that even NyQuil nerd Drew Brees would be jealous.

Finally, slice the potatoes into small 1/2 inch chunks and add to a large serving bowl. Add the lentils, dressing and kale (parsley would be a fine sub too.) Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. The original recipe calls for serving this warm, but it’s might fine chilled as well. And, more importantly, mayo-free.

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