One of the benefits of being married to Larry is having an Italian mother-in-law, Brigida! She grew up in the Naples area, married Larry’s father, a U.S. serviceman, and now lives in Virginia Beach. Each summer she comes back to visit her sister in Naples–and this year came up to see us outside of Torino. Her Italian accent and lively personality keep us smiling.

No one can believe my mother-in-law looks so young! Must be the Mediterranean diet.

For her last evening here, I asked her if we could make her very special Potato Salad together. The recipe is on page 71 of O Taste & See Some More! I’ll also add it at the end of this blog. With olive oil and lemon juice it’s such a fresh-tasting summer treat. Here’s how we made it:

Five or six whole potatoes are covered with cold water and brought to a boil. We simmered them gently until a fork could be easily pressed into them–about 25-30 minutes.

While the potatoes simmered, Mom Peck cut the ends off of the fresh green beans and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Meanwhile, I cut the small zucchinis in half and then into thick slices. We steamed both–in separate pots, since the beans take longer to get tender. Both should be tender but not mushy. Then we drained them and set them aside.

When the potatoes were done, they were drained and cooled for 10-15 minutes before we peeled them. She just uses her fingers to peel the potatoes; I prefer a small knife. The potatoes need to be quite warm–even though they’re hard to handle. If left to cool completely, they’re much harder to peel. (Of course you CAN peel them before you boil them, if you prefer. I find it easier but Mom Peck prefers it this way…and since we’re making HER potato salad, I wasn’t going to insist.

The potatoes are then sliced, and salted…before adding the beans and zucchini.

No Italian I know measures their olive oil…in my cookbook I’ve listed “1/4 C. olive oil”. But this is just my best guess. The olive oil is drizzled over the veggies before adding….

…a squeeze of lemon. For this amount of salad, a half a lemon is enough.

Mom then gently stirred the mixture…while I added some minced onion and a shake of oregano. You’ll want to season the salad to taste and enjoy at room temperature.

We enjoyed ours out on our balcony with Baked Salmon Trout (directions to follow), and Fennel Slaw (p.48  in Around Our Table). I cooked the fish according to the suggestion of the clerk at the fish market and it was fabulous! First time I’ve ever had Salmon Trout…I’m sure you could use just salmon or just trout if this particular type isn’t available to you.

The filets of fish were placed in a single layer and drizzled with olive oil. Then I added some white wine, cherry tomatoes halved, a sprig of fresh rosemary and a sprinkle of salt. I covered it with foil and baked it in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Voila!

Summer’s almost over…why not enjoy a bowl of Mom Peck’s Potato Salad this week?

Buon appetito!



Mom Peck's Potato Salad

Yield: Serves 6-8

Mom Peck's Potato Salad


  • 6 large potatoes, left whole
  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) cubes
  • 2 C. (200 g) fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
  • 1/4 C. (60 ml) olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Place the whole potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with salted water. Cook until tender (test by piercing with a fork). Drain and cool; peel off the skins and dice into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes or 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) slices.
  2. Meanwhile, separately steam the zucchini and then the beans in a little salted water until tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine all 3 vegetables in a bowl. Toss gently with olive oil and salt.
  4. Just before serving squeeze the lemon over the salad and toss again gently. Check the seasonings--you may like it with more olive oil, salt or lemon juice. Serve at room temperature.
  5. For a little more "pizzazz", add 2 green onions, thinly sliced, and a sprinkle of oregano.

This recipe is on p. 71 of O Taste & See Some More!.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *