Chervil, an herb that's relatively uncommon and underused in this country, lends a subtle licorice flavor to this bright-tasting side dish. You probably won't find chervil in clamshell packs at the supermarket; your best bet is a farmers market. If you can, do what we did: Buy the plant from a farmers market or nursery and give it a home in your garden.
Fennel and tarragon, both of which also have a licorice tang, can stand in for chervil if necessary, but in smaller amounts; they are more assertively flavored.
It's important not to overcook the potatoes in this dish; if you do, they will start to fall apart when you toss them with the dressing.
- 1 pound small new potatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small shallot, minced (1 tablespoon)
- 10 to 15 stems chives, chopped (1 tablespoon)
- Leaves from 2 stems flat-leaf parsley, chopped (1 tablespoon)
- Leaves from 18 small sprigs chervil, chopped (2 tablespoons)
Place the potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover by several inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cook for 10 to 20 minutes, just until tender; check often, as the cooking time will depend on the size and freshness of the potatoes. Drain, and allow to cool for a few minutes.
While the potatoes are cooling, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and shallot in a small bowl. Taste, and add salt as needed.
When the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, cut them in half and place them in a medium serving bowl.
Whisk the vinaigrette once more, and pour it over the warm potatoes. Toss gently until the potatoes are well coated. Just before serving, add the parsley, chervil and chives; toss to evenly distribute the herbs.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from "Cooking From the Garden," edited by Ruth Lively and Courtney Jordan (Taunton Press, 2010).
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
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