Pesto Potato Salad

Levanto, Italy: a Cittaslow

For almost a year, I have been saving a little jar of pesto that I purchased in Levanto, a designated Slow City or Cittaslow, on the Ligurian coast in Italy. I don’t know why I haven’t used it until now. Maybe the thought of no longer seeing it every time I open my pantry would mean that memorable trip was really in the past. Maybe I was saving it for a very special recipe. Or maybe I just forgot about it. Anyway, I used it yesterday. And it was good. Very good. A whole lot of flavour packed in one tiny jar, plucked from a shelf in a little sunny market in Levanto, packed in my suitcase with my other food souvenirs and finally brought home to sit and wait in my pantry.
Even in Italy, Liguria is the most famous pesto-making area. It is also renowned for its Limoncello. We had a meal to remember one warm night in Levanto. It began with crusty Italian bread and a local red wine which mellowed us out and set the pace for a slow leisurely meal.

My first course was to die for: stuffed anchovies fresh caught in local waters.

Stuffed anchovies in a crispy crumb coating

As if this wasn’t enough, next came the fish course, perfectly seasoned with pine nuts, olives and the most flavourful tomatoes on earth. Den had his new favourite: a huge pot of local mussels.

What’s dinner without dessert? I figure it’s always worth it, even if I’m full. Why miss out on that flavour experience? This Limoncello Gelato will be etched in my memory forever . . . soft creamy gelato, floating in a pool of Liguria’s famous lemon liqueur.

But, I digress. Back to the little jar of pesto. Summertime barbecues here in Canada often include a potato salad. The traditional North American version, made with lots of mayonnaise and hard-cooked eggs tastes good and evokes memories of summers past, but for those of us watching our fat intake and cholesterol levels, it just won’t cut the mustard. I made this one tonight to accompany our veggie burgers and it’s a keeper.

an alternative to the traditional
For four to six servings:
Boil about 20 tiny new potatoes, (cut in half or quarter if you can’t get the small ones)
until just tender when pierced.
Drain in a colander and rinse in cool water. Let cool completely.
Stir together about 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt (I used Liberte low-fat) and 3 tablespoons pesto (or more depending on your taste)
Toss this mixture with the cooled potatoes, sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper and serve.
And dream about your next trip to Italy . . .

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