I am genuinely amazed that despite the revolutionary strides our country has made in the last century in both civil rights law and handheld technology, a dull-colored, gelatinous bowl of mayonnaise-covered chunks is still our national potato salad. This blatant culinary depravity is emblematic of far deeper social issues that we are battling. This recipe is my one-woman movement to lead our country into a new era where mayonnaise is replaced by olive oil and flavor is inspired by the ancient civilizations that came before us. Greece and Rome laid the foundation of our constitution; it is now time to let them redefine our potato salad.
This dish will speak for itself, but what makes it particularly yummy is that it is tossed while still warm, letting the ingredients “melt into” the potatoes.
For those wondering about the title, capperi is Italian for capers. It is a play on words with Capri, the exquisite island off the coast of Naples on which the Roman emperor Tiberius elected to reside. (It is still possible to visit the remains of his palace on Capri which from atop stunning cliffs overlooks the perfectly azure sea below. Don’t blame him. If you were emperor, where would you choose to live?) However, it proved to be against his better judgement, leaving too much power to the Praetorian in Rome. He was succeeded by his grand-nephew, the infamous Caligula.
- 6 russet potatoes (unpeeled)
- 2 tablespoons capers, preferably in salt, rinsed and chopped finely (buy here)
- ½ red onion sliced very thinly, and then cut in half to form “half moons”
- 1 large handful freshly chopped Italian parsley
- extra virgin olive oil, generously drizzled, about a ½ cup (*Watch video on how to choose the best olive oil.)
- salt (for sprinkling and for boiling potatoes)
- freshly ground pepper
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil.
- When boiling add a handful of salt.
- Put in potatoes whole. Let boil for about 20 minutes or until they are just done. When you stick a knife into one you will feel it soft in the center.
- Gently drain potatoes in a colander and let cool for about 20-30 minutes.
- Cut potatoes into fourths or sixths, depending on size of potato (you want big pieces because some will break apart and give you smaller pieces and yummy warm potato crumbles.)
- Put potatoes in a ceramic or glass bowl for serving. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Throw in the onion, capers and parsley.
- Gently toss, being careful since the potatoes will still be warm and will break easily. (A little breakage is good.)
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a little salt if necessary. Grind fresh black pepper.
- Let sit for another 20 minutes at least to let flavors merge.
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