Switch up your potato salad game with Mediterranean appeal

Gretchen Mckay
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Now that it’s almost officially summer, chances are you’re dusting off the grill for a cookout. If you’re looking to spruce up your side dishes with a more global focus, consider Yasmin Khan’s lush new book, “Ripe Figs.” It takes readers on a culinary journey through the Mediterranean, with seasonal vegetable-forward dishes from Turkey, Greece and Cyprus that would add flavor to any cookout, picnic or barbecue.

This easy potato salad is a regional specialty of Cyprus. Traditional potato salad is made with mayonnaise and hard-boiled eggs, but here, olives, lemon, capers and fresh herbs give it a zesty lift. It’s just as good served with grilled meats or fish and also works well as part of a mezze spread.

The original recipe calls for Cypriot potatoes, or potatoes from Cyprus — no easy find in Pittsburgh. Instead I used baby Yukon gold potatoes. Capers add a salty, lemony bite.

However you enjoy the salad — it can be eaten hot, cold or at room temperature — you’ll want to toss the potatoes in the dressing while they’re still warm so they can absorb the flavors.

Cypriot-style potato salad made with olives, lemon, mint and olive oil offers a taste of the Mediterranean. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)


PG tested

  • 2 pounds new potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • Finely grated zest from 1 medium unwaxed lemon
  • 1/4 red onion finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel potatoes or leave the skin on. Cut potatoes into large (2-inch) chunks. (I used halved unpeeled baby potatoes.)

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the potatoes to the pot and boil for about 12 minutes or until they are tender. Drain and place in a serving bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients, along with ¼ teaspoon salt and a good grind or two of black pepper.

Serves 4.

— “Ripe Figs: Recipes and Stories from Turkey, Greece and Cyprus” by Yasmin Khan (W.W. Norton, $35)