On my way home from work today I stopped at the supermarket and bought hamburgers, hotdogs, buns and tomatoes. This is the modest way I generally celebrate the 4th here in France: the lowest common denominator of American cuisine. And I remembered the leftover potato salad in the fridge, which I made for a picnic this weekend which was sadly cancelled at the last minute.
I had intended to make a chicken salad and possibly a potato salad. "No mayonnaise!!!" one of the party shouted down the phone at me when I mentioned the menu. Hm, yes, there is a bit of a heat-wave here in Paris. And so I had a brainwave as I stood in line at the fishmonger's stall at the market on Saturday morning: potatoes and grilled sardines. Meaty, summery, not your average potato salad, perfect. I highly recommend it for your 4th of July picnic if you are having one.
Grilled Sardine Potato Salad (serves 4 as a side dish)
1 kilo new potatoes
500 grams sardine filets
1 Tbs fresh thyme
2 Tbs capers, drained and rinsed
2 Tbs chopped fresh chives
6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
Wash and cut the potatoes in large chunks. Set them to steam while you prepare the rest of the salad. Toss the sardines with the thyme and a tablespoon of olive oil. Grill them on a medium hot grill, just a few moments, enough to cook them through. If your grill has a cover you won't even need to turn them over; they will cook quickly. (Don't worry about the odd bit of charring on the fish though; they will be all the tastier with a little smoky edge to them.) When they are done, set them aside in a bowl.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice. Add the capers. When the potatoes are done, toss them in this bowl and stir quickly to coat them. Add salt and pepper, the tomatoes and the chives and stir again. Lastly, gently stir in the sardine filets along with any juice that may have accumulated in the bowl. They can break up a bit, but the salad will look and taste nicer if there are recognisable chunks. Serve at room temperature, but do refrigerate if you are not going to eat it right away.