People have been asking us what we saw that was really great on our trip to Spain and The Netherlands. Well, at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, we saw the artist’s dozens of variations of Velazquez’s Las Meninas, and then saw the actual Las Meninas at the Prado in Madrid. While in Madrid, we also saw Guernica, which has its own room at the Museo Reina Sofia. And when we got to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, we could only laugh when we saw the Picasso in Paris exhibit and half wondered if he had been following us.
Yes, we saw some of the true masterpieces of Western Art, but those paintings weren’t the most amazing things we saw on our trip. That honor goes to the day we spent on rented bicycles (3 Euros!) with our American friends Mel and Cullen, who are doing their neuroscience post-docs in Rotterdam.
The four of us biked about 30 km (around 18 miles), from Leiden to Lisse, on our quest for blooming tulips. As it turns out, tulip season was just beginning, but daffodil and hyacinth season was in full swing.
This was not a bad thing, not at all. In fact, I’ll never forget the scent wafting from the fields of hyacinths as we biked by.
We were starving by the time we got the the Keukenhof Castle, and had a wonderful picnic on the grounds. Cullen had packed a 30 year-old chunk of Gouda, speckled with crystals, from which he scraped delicate shavings with a cheese plane. We ate that with baguettes that Mel had heated in the oven and wrapped in dish towels to keep warm. The Dutch like to spread a little mustard in between their bread and cheese, and Rich and Cullen enjoyed some thin pieces of rare roast beef with theirs.
It was sitting on our rain jackets — which we didn’t need to use a single day on our trip, it turns out — that I fell for this this potato salad. Its origins were modest enough; I found it in the prepared salad section of the Albert Heijn grocery store near Mel and Cullen’s place.
The original had pieces of chicken but I’ve omitted them from my version, making it vegan. (It’s also kosher for Passover.) The Dutch have a very bland palate, so I’ve gussied this up a bit with some fresh herbs and slices of green olive. I think the potatoes in the original had been boiled, but I steamed mine. I also roasted the zucchini after I tossed it with some chopped garlic and olive oil. Nothing here is paper thin, no mandolin required. Everything, including the radishes, is about 1/4 inch thick.
Potato, Zucchini and Radish Salad
About 1 pound of small, new potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 1/4 inch wide half moons. Steamed.
1 Zucchini, halved lengthwise, chopped into 1/4 inch wide half moons, tossed with about 1.5 tablespoons olive oil, one clove of chopped garlic, and roasted for about 20 minutes. If you have red chili flakes, now would be a good place to use a few, if that’s your thing. Keep an eye on the squash; zucchini has a way of getting mushy fast.
About 6 radishes, sliced into 1/4 inch wide discs
1/4 cup of green olives, sliced
A handful of parsley, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
About 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Warm potatoes have a way of sucking up oil, so you might need to add a few more glugs worth to get it to a moistness that suits you. Enjoy!
Sounds like a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. The flower fields look beautiful and the potato salad sounds yummy!
I love potato salad and your version looks wonderful. Those daffodil and hyacinth fields must have been lovely.
That picnic looks lovely. Nothing better than baguettes and cheese on the grass! Except maybe some wine to wash it down 🙂
It sounds like you had a near perfect day with your friends and the picnic looks really wonderful. I am new to your blog and I have spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I’m so glad I did that. You’ve created a lovely spot for your readers to visit. I really enjoyed the time I spent here. I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary
Beautiful pictures! And love the picnic!
Do I spy a Trader Joe’s bag holding your delightful picnic? Is there a TJ’s in NL now or did you bring the bag with you?
There was a TJ bag, nice catch! I also brought some dried cantaloupe I picked up at my favorite produce store here in Boston, Russo’s.
Gorgeous photos, and I love the addition of herbs and green olives to this dish!
that salad looks awesome!!!
Wow. That sounds like the most wonderful way to spend the day. And the potato salad looks really tasty!
so gorgeous!! i’ve always wanted to bicycle through Dutch tulip fields 🙂 it’s on my life list. throw in a gouda picnic and that is my idea of heaven
Hi Molly — had to peek around your lovely blog! It’s beautiful and your photos are great! I’m very hungry now….;)
Zucchini and radish, two of my favorite summer combos. I am ready for the warm weather to come!
This potato salad looks delicious and so fresh! I can’t wait to try it out!
I would happily bike 18 miles to see sights like that 🙂 Also, nice photos, and good to see you packed a good picnic, it suits the landscape!
Hey Molly, just to let you know I’ve answered your question on the post 🙂 To be fair I got a bit confused too!
Wow. That salad sounds delightful! I’m always looking for new ways to use radishes. I love them, but don’t tend to do a whole lot with them, so thanks!