Baby Potatoes with Pickled Onions, Cucumbers and Sumac
In this delicious riff on potato salad, Chef Serge Madikians of Serevan restaurant, in New York’s Hudson Valley, uses two types of cucumbers—fresh and pickled—plus ground sumac for a tangy flavor. An Armenian from Iran, the chef has developed an original and distinctive cuisine that stays true to the seasons. If you use purple potatoes as well as white or yellow varieties, simmer the purple ones separately so the color won’t bleed.
- 3 lb. (1.5 kg) small potatoes, such as fingerlings
- 2 shallots, quartered lengthwise
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp. dried thyme (do not use powdered thyme)
- 2 Tbs. plus 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) olive oil
- 1 large red onion, halved lengthwise, cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) half-moons and rings separated
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) red wine vinegar, plus more, to taste
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) sherry vinegar
- 3 Persian or Middle Eastern cucumbers, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) rounds
- 4 or 5 Middle Eastern cucumber pickles, preferably Persian or Israeli, cut into rounds
- 1 bunch fresh dill, leaves picked and stems discarded
- 2 tsp. sumac, or more, to taste
Wash the potatoes well and cut them into equal sizes; if they are round, halve them. (It’s important that the potatoes are the same size so they will cook evenly.) Place the potatoes in a heavy pot and cover with water by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Add the shallots, garlic and thyme, and season the water well with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, about 25 minutes, depending on their size; a paring knife should pierce them easily.
Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan until very hot. Pour in the 2 Tbs. olive oil and immediately add the onion rings, tossing them around to char them a bit, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the red wine vinegar. Place the pan over medium-low heat. Season the onion rings with salt and simmer until they have wilted and the vinegar has evaporated. about 3 minutes. Set aside.
When the potatoes are done, drain them and transfer to a large bowl, discarding the shallots, garlic and thyme sprig. Toss the hot potatoes with the 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) olive oil and sherry vinegar. Adjust the seasoning with salt. Set aside, stirring the potatoes a few times while they are still warm so they will absorb the vinaigrette.
When the potatoes have cooled, add the cucumbers and cucumber pickles and toss.
When ready to serve (but not before because the salad will discolor), add the dill, onion rings and sumac and toss. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a platter and serve. Serves 8.
Adapted from a recipe by Serge Madikians, Chef/Owner, Serevan, Amenia, NY.