New potatoes are a big thing in Finland. It’s usually around the end of May that the first ones from Sweden arrive in the supermarkets. You’ll have to wait till June for the Finnish ones. After eating old ones, which tend to get more and more tasteless and floury in consistency plus ugly with all sorts of blemishes and dark spots, all through the winter, the first small, fresh, new ones look and taste out of this world. The best place to get them is, of course, the market place where you often find local farmers selling their produce. Mind you, you can also get very decent new potatoes in most supermarkets.
The simple way is the best to enjoy these delights. Just boil them, and then savour them with some fresh dill and a knob of butter. In terms of food, there is not much that can beat that in summer! It’s curious with the Finnish tradition to use dill. My late English mother-in-law found it very strange at first, as over there mint is the go-to herb with potatoes, but she got to like it in the end. And I, in turn, learned to appreciate potatoes with mint.
Whenever I prepare new potatoes, I always get a double amount at least, as they will soon be eaten as cold snacks during the day. Hot or cold, they are good with anything – other summer vegetables, fish, grilled meat, in soup, you name it!
Here is a family favourite summer recipe of a mustardy new potato salad that I prepare several times every summer, to accompany grilled sausages, for example. The most common potato salad with grilled food is one with small cubes of potatoes, with gherkins and onions and a thick mayonnaise dressing. This recipe brings you some change to the ordinary summer fare.
- c. 1 kg boiled new potatoes (quite small, round ones work best)
- 2-3 tbsp mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp strong mustard (or more if you like the taste)
- 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- some freshly ground black pepper
- 1 dl oil (I usually use milder rapeseed oil for this, but I’m sure olive goes as well)
- fresh chives
- rucola (plus optional iceberg lettuce)
THIS IS WHAT YOU DO
- Prepare the potatoes. (I am usually very picky with potato peels but, for some reason, this salad doesn’t taste right if you peel the potatoes. Just carefully brush and wash them before boiling.)
- While the potatoes boil, prepare the dressing.
- Toast the mustard seeds on a clean, dry frying pan. Let them cool down.
- In a bowl, mix the toasted mustard seeds, mustard, lemon juice, salt, sugar and black pepper.
- Gradually stir in the oil to get an even consistency.
- Halve the still warm potatoes into the dressing and mix them together. (The warm potatoes nicely soak in some of the dressing and spices.)
- Serve layers of rucola and potatoes on a plate, or in a bowl. (Sometimes I prefer more greenery, and put leaves of iceberg lettuce on the bottom.)
- Cut lots of chives on top.
- If there are any left-overs, keep in the fridge, and it will taste just as good the next day!
ENJOY WITH YOUR CHOICE OF GRILLED TREATS!