Whenever there was a barbecue, I remember both my mother and grandmother making their very 1950s-style potato salad in the ’80s. It usually consisted of potatoes, apples, cherry tomatoes and ham. My sister loved it. Whenever I saw it, I wanted to gag. There would be globs of Miracle Whip folded in, triggering the mayonnaise equivalent of uncanny valley for me.

I never touched the stuff, knowing from a very young age that Miracle Whip was pure evil. It completely turned me off to potato salad for years and years until way later when I discovered that their unfortunate recipe was just a variation on a theme. There are better ways to a good potato salad.

May 1 is France’s Labor Day holiday, so there was an occasion to picnic. I made a warm pesto potato salad:

For the salad:

2 lbs. fingerling potatoes, cut into bite size pieces

1/4 c. lardons

1/2 c. corn

1/2 c. green beans, blanched

1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/2 c. pesto

salt and pepper to taste

For the pesto:

3 c. packed basil leaves

1 clove of garlic

1/4 c. pine nuts

1/2 c. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

To make the pesto, blend all ingredients into a food processor while slowly incorporating the oil into the mixture. You can also use a mortal and pestle to give the pesto a more rustic texture.

For the salad, boil the potatoes in salted water, until you can slice a knife through the potatoes, about twenty minutes.

At the same time, boil water, salt it, add green beans for about three minutes. Strain and quickly blanch the green beans in an ice bath.

Once the potatoes are ready, strain and put them back in the pot so it stays hot. Add the other salad fixings and the pesto, toss until the pesto is well incorporated.

I am happy to report that no one gagged when they ate it.

And just for some eye candy, the dessert:

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