When you turn to French-style potato salad, there's still no mayonnaise
four 6-ounce potatoes, peeled
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup white wine
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
coarse salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 pound garlic sausage, preferably saucisson ‡ l'ail (French garlic sausage)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon tiny, tiny bits of Swiss cheese (the size of sesame seeds)
leaves of soft lettuce, such as Boston lettuce
1. Steam the potatoes in salted water until just tender (about 30 minutes); they should still be ever so slightly crunchy at the center. While the potatoes are cooking, boil the chicken stock and the white wine in a heavy saucepan until reduced to a scant 1/2 cup.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette. Place the mustard in a small bowl, whisk in the vinegar, then, drop by drop at First and later in a thin stream, whisk in the olive oil. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
3. When the potatoes are cooked, cut them in J-inch slices, and place on large platter or in roasting pan. Drizzle the reduced chicken stock over the potato slices. Season on both sides with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Let the potatoes absorb the stock for 5 minutes, then pour off any extra stock. Meanwhile, simmer the garlic sausage in the water used to steam the potatoes. Remove when just warm, and slice into thin rounds, about 1 inch in diameter. If the diameter of the sausage is larger (as in saucisson l'ail), cut each round into smaller pieces. Intersperse sausage slices with the potato slices. Sprinkle the tarragon, chives, parsley, and Swiss cheese bits over all. Whisk the vinaigrette a moment, and spread evenly over the potatoes and sausages. Toss very gently to combine well. Place soft lettuce leaves on each of 4 plates, and top with potato salad. Serve while salad is still warm.
When you turn to french-style potato salad, there's still no mayonnaise! The key to a great, French-style potato salad is mixing the potatoes while they're still warm with stock or wine, giving the potatoes an extra measure of flavor. There's no dearth of flavor in the following variation -- the potatoes are joined by thin slices of garlicky sausage, great herbs, and little flecks of Swiss cheese (which bring everything meltingly together). Serves 4 as a first course