Blistered peppers and mustard potato salad
Because we still have to eat, after all. I’m not quite ready to rely exclusively on pizza and take-out, and we have a few days of squatting left in this apartment. I found a little basket of Padrón peppers yesterday at the Greenmarket, which I’d been keeping my eye out for ever since eating them at Tiá Pol last year for my birthday. The simple preparation of them stuck with me, and they seemed like a good choice since I wouldn’t have to dig anything out of a box (my Maldon salt will be the last item I pack).
The curious thing about these peppers, according to Wikipedia, is that they can be sweet or hot, and that they are more likely to be hot as it gets into September. Readers: believe me when I tell you that my second bite of this tapa sent me into the bathroom, where I sat on the verge of throwing up for several minutes. My mouth and stomach were on fire, and I lost the ability to stand and speak. It’s too bad, because it would have been a delicious treat otherwise. I’m just incapable of enjoying very spicy foods. A little spice goes a long way with me. Even Nathan couldn’t handle them, so into the garbage they went. I’ll try the preparation again with a sweeter pepper sometime (in case you’re interested: Heat some olive oil in a skillet over high heat, and cook the peppers until they are blackened and soft. Toss with flaky sea salt.)
For dinner, I went with what is becoming an old standby: Mark Bittman’s double-mustard potato salad, which I served with applesauce.
This is an excellent option for those who like potato salad but who are averse to mayonnaise, as I am. Slice some waxy potatoes (he calls for 1.5 pounds) into bite-sized pieces and boil them for about fifteen minutes, until firm but soft enough to eat. In the meantime, make a dressing with 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup grainy mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, a tablespoon of vinegar such as balsamic, and fresh basil. I’ve made this twice: once with balsamic vinegar and pesto in place of basil, and tonight with white wine vinegar and fresh thyme, since that’s what I had on hand. I also added some crispy pieces of fried bacon, which gave the dish an Alsatian flavor. It’s a good recipe—the dressing is potent, but the blandness of the potatoes calms down the flavor in your mouth, causing you to yearn for more mustard.