Paris, The City of Light. People often ask me why I love Paris as much as I do. For me, Paris is three things; romantic, whimsical and elegant.

I first fell in love with Paris in 2004. I can remember the moment I walked out of the metro station in the Saint Germain des Pres arrondissement on the Left Bank. It was a beautiful summer morning around 10 am and the sun was shining brightly. The street was quiet and I took a few moments to look around and soak in the surrounding beauty. The architecture was spectacular; it far exceeded every image studied and memorized in countless art history classes taken in college. It was love at first sight.

The remaining days spent in Paris on that first holiday were magical. There was so much to discover, appreciate, and digest.  Whether it was discovering a new perfume or stumbling upon a jewelry boutique, each experience was joyful.  I got lost each day in countless museums, gardens and tourist attractions. Rodin stole my heart as I walked the gardens at his museum.  The statues loomed large and displayed the finesse of a world-class master sculptor.

As it was summer, the days were long and the sun didn’t set until around 10 pm each evening. This of course meant countless divine culinary experiences to cap each day. However, since it was Paris, the culinary mecca of the world, I didn’t wait until the evening to sample delicious cuisine. It began at breakfast, and I took every opportunity between sightseeing to try something new.

One dish that was extraordinarily simple, light and lovely was a potato salad that I picked up at my now favorite patisserie in Saint Germain des Pres on my way to picnic at the Jardin du Luxembourg. It was quite different from a traditional American potato salad, which is mayonnaise based and often contains celery, eggs, bacon, etc. This potato salad seemingly had three ingredients; parsley, olive oil, and salt. It was perfect. As I sat in the gardens looking at the fountains and the children playing nearby, eating the salad and sipping wine, I remember feeling like I was part of a painting. That moment was extraordinary. 

I’ve made several versions since that first trip to Paris and have altered it each time until this final version, which resembles the one I first had in 2004. I’ve added dill and a vinaigrette made with sherry and Dijon mustard.  This salad is perfect alongside a green salad, roasted chicken and glass of rose. I suggest enjoying the meal while picnicking in beautiful surroundings. Enjoy!

2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
½ c chopped parsley
¼ c chopped dill
½ c olive oil
1 tb sherry vinegar
1 ½ ts Dijon mustard
½ ts salt
½ ts pepper

-Boil water in a large pot
-Quarter potatoes and add to the boiling water
-Boil for 15 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork
-Strain potatoes and let cool
-Add chopped herbs
-Rough mash the herbs and potatoes with a masher
-Combine the sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard
-Add the oil to the vinaigrette in a slow steady stream, whisk constantly
-Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper
-Pour the vinaigrette over the potatoes
-Toss with a large fork and spoon, keeping it light and fluffy
-Drizzle with additional oil
-Add fresh ground sea salt to taste