Pesto Purple Potato Salad


Searching for a crowd-pleasing accompaniment to your Fourth of July party? The upcoming holiday specifically calls for more than the typical Saturday leisure lunch, and we've got just the ticket.

This summer especially, I have constantly challenged the "expected" backyard grilling menu. Sure, hot dogs and slaw invoke nostalgia and guaranteed goodness, but why not take it to the next level?  My husband Alex and I have become quite fond of inviting over friends and neighbors for chargrilled tenderloin alongside colorful and crisp vegetables and salads from our weekly farmers market trip. During last weekend's roundup, we discovered a bucket of Japanese purple sweet potatoes and scooped them up for a Sunday supper. The result of our ingredient's inspiration was a captivating presentation of purple potato salad, emphasizing the keyword "salad" more than its usual display of mayo and such.

Not just grill-out or picnic fare, though, potato salad is a goes-with-everything summer side. Its Southern DNA is an additive to any outdoor gathering, but its classic creamy consistency isn't necessarily required. I have opted to, instead, infuse the colors and textures of the season: from radish microgreens (typically available at your farmers market or organic grocer) to peppery arugula and pesto. The zing of fresh greens lightens the typical load of this summertime starch. Plus, the purple-hued potatoes and spring onions indirectly reflect and add an elegance to the American flag's blue for your Fourth of July party color palette.

You'll enjoy its garlicky pesto tang alongside a chargrilled burger or kabob this Independence Day or beneath a salmon filet for a fresh "nicoise"-like entrée salad. Or, serve individually in mason jars alongside a turkey panini for family picnics on-the-go. The versatility of this Southern "veggie" will fuel your creativity in the kitchen. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Serves 8

1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
2 Japanese purple sweet potatoes
Kosher salt
1/4 cup radish microgreens
1/4 cup Italian parsley, torn
1 lemon, halved and juiced
1 cup arugula
2 purple spring onions, greens and bulbs sliced
1/4 cup basil pesto

1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and reduce to simmer, allowing potatoes to cook for approximately 10 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and allow to cool slightly before slicing into quarters.

2. While still warm, toss potatoes in pesto. Squeeze lemon and sprinkle salt, and toss once more. Transfer to a serving dish. Top with arugula, microgreens, and fresh herbs. Serve at room temperature.