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Article updated: 7/1/2013 12:56 PM

Baked Potato Salad

2 pounds Idaho potatoes (about 3 large), scrubbed

Kosher salt and white pepper

Pesto

1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley (about ounce), with about 1 inch of stems still attached, roughly chopped

1 small bunch basil (about ounce), with about 1 inch of stems still attached, roughly chopped

Kosher salt and white pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Dressing

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 shallot, sliced into thin rounds

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons chopped capers, plus 1 teaspoon of their brine

4 cornichons, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/3-inch pieces, plus 1 tablespoon of their brine

13 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bake the potatoes: Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are tender and yielding when pierced in the thickest part with the tip of a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Make the pesto: Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the parsley and basil. Season with salt and pepper, add 2 tablespoons water, and blend. With the machine running, pour the olive oil through the top of the food processor in a slow, steady stream. The texture should be a little rustic and chunky. Taste for seasoning.

Make the dressing: In a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes, whisk together the vinegar, shallots, mustard, capers and brine, and gherkins and brine with 1 tablespoon water. Whisk in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning.

Finish the salad: Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel half of them. (Some potato skin is a nice flavor in the salad.) Put the potatoes in the large bowl with the dressing and lightly crush them with the tines of a fork. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss them in the dressing. Drizzle with the pesto and stir to blend. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves four to six.

Cook's note: For an interesting garnish, chop the peeled potato skins and pan-fry them until crisp. Sprinkle on top of salad.

"Old School Comfort Food" by Alex Guarnaschelli (Potter 2013)

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