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Potato Salad with Peas, Pickles & Tuna

March 13, 2011

Attending law school requires industry. No, they haven’t asked us to make our own desks – at least, not yet. And so far this take home exam I’m working on has required patience, apt page-turning skills, use of fancy words and caffeine, but no industry. I’m taking industry when it comes to lunch. Ever since I started eating breakfast, which, these days, happens around 7:30 am, I’ve become ravenous around lunchtime. By the time I walk home from school (ok, it’s only a 7 minute walk, but still) at 1 pm, I barely have enough time to cut into some bread, stick some turkey, cream cheese and tomato on it and shove the sandwich into my mouth. Not a pretty picture, I know.

Another unfortunate occurrence as of late: my entire neighborhood smells like boiled potatoes. Occasionally it smells like french fries so I’m convinced there’s a secret “chip” factory somewhere in the vicinity. This isn’t altogether improbable, either, considering we live in an old “inner city slum” where factories and warehouses (most of which are now converted into homes or apartments, all of which I want) are still interspersed among the terrace houses and workers’ cottages. The point, though, is that it always smells like potatoes and I fluctuate between 1. wanting potatoes so badly it hurts and 2. hating potatoes so badly it hurts.

The other day, it was the former. As I approached home, the familiar smell in the air, I knew that I needed to have potatoes for lunch. Good thing I always keep at least a few waxy beauties in the bottom of the fridge. After much rummaging through the fridge for accompaniments – should I have a boiled potato with sour cream? Maybe mashed potatoes with copious amounts of butter and salt? – I decided to have a potato salad – a healthier option, I figured – which, due to constraints involving vast amounts of hunger, I ate warm.

Even though my process involved adding a bit of this and a bit of that in a hunger haze, the salad was delicious. Definitely the best potato salad I’ve had in recent memory (the last time I had my mom’s epic potato salad I was about 10 years old). And it came together in no time. Despite the odds, I had the wherewithal to snap some photos, as homely as they may be. And then I ate it all. Now, I share. It’s the least I can do. Especially when take home exams requires a little break and a steady supply of food. Hopefully this little gem will come in handy the next time you want a fast, fresh, easy lunch that’s not a turkey sandwich.


Makes enough for two not-so-hungry people, or me.

1 waxy-skinned potato, chopped into 1/2″ cubes

1 egg (optional)

1 cup frozen peas

1 can tuna

2 pickles, finely chopped



1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 – 2 teaspoons dijon mustard

a splash of white wine vinegar

a big splash of olive oil

salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper


Throw the potato and, if using, the egg into a small pot and cover with water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, finely chop the pickles.

Once the water is boiling, cook for 10 minutes then throw in the frozen peas and, 30 seconds later, turn off the heat and strain out the water. Peel the shell off the hard boiled egg and chop it up. Add the egg, potatoes, peas and pickles to a medium sized bowl. Open a can of tuna, strain out the liquid, and add the contents to the bowl.

Now make the dressing: in a small bowl, add all the dressing ingredients to taste. Mix vigorously with a fork for a few seconds and it will come together into a uniform, creamy dressing. Pour dressing over the still-warm salad and stir to coat completely. Can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled straight from the fridge.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Brenna permalink
    March 15, 2011 6:58 am

    Mmm pickles….

  2. July 22, 2011 7:54 pm

    My Latvian grandmother always makes this salad for us on the first day we come to visit her. In Latvian it’s called rasols, and she makes it with shrimp rather than tuna. An apple chopped in is also delicious!

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