The Nut Tree Green Frosted Potato Salad

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Snipped mustard greens, celery tops, pickles, green onions and parsley—this odd, but surprisingly tasty mixture defined the Green-Frosted Potato Salad that was served for years at the Nut Tree in Vacaville, CA. The combination of mustard greens with dry mustard gives the salad extra flavor—so does roasting the potatoes in their jackets. The salad –that green-topped mound on the right in the photo–was usually served as part of Nut Tree’s do-it-yourself Vagabond Sandwich Platter, as shown here. We used an old photo of the original as inspiration for our food styling of the plate. (Thanks go to Shawn Lum, executive director of the Vacaville Museum.) And pulling the whole meal together, Nut Tree included miniature loaves of bread from a pioneer, Nut Tree family heirloom recipe.

Makes 9 to 12 servings; salad dressing makes 1 ¾ cups

Potato Salad Ingredients

  • 4 lbs (12 medium) well-scrubbed potatoes, roasted in their jackets
  • ½ cup finely snipped parsley, divided into two, ¼ cup piles
  • ¼ cup chopped green peppers
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • ¼ cup chopped celery tops
  • ¼ cup chopped mustard greens
  • ¼ cup chopped dill pickle
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup Clear French Dressing (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (prepared, or homemade)

Clear French Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • fresh-ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp slightly beaten egg white (use pasteurized for safety)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup each, red and white wine vinegar
  • 1 ¼ cup canola oil (or your choice salad oil)


  1. Start potato salad: Mix ¼ cup parsley with the rest of the “green” ingredients (peppers, onion, celery tops i.e. inner green leaves, mustard greens and dill pickle) Scoop out ¼ cup of this mixture. Leave remaining green mixture in large bowl. Combine the ¼ cup of the mixture you scooped out with the extra ¼ cup of parsley and set this aside in a small bowl to be used as the topping, later.
  2. Coarsely chop potatoes into the large bowl with the green herbs. (Note: I like to leave potato skins on for extra flavor.)
  3. Make dressing: Combine first five ingredients in mixer bowl of stand mixer. Slowly add vinegar, alternating with salad oil, until all are incorporated.
  4. Finish Making Potato Salad: Combine mayonnaise, ¼ cup French dressing, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Add to salad and toss well. Taste to adjust seasonings, adding more dressing or mayonnaise if needed. Pack into a 2-qt baking dish and chill. To serve, lift out portions with a pancake turner, sprinkle with herb topping. Or, press salad into individual ramekins and unmold onto plate, sprinkling with herbs to finish. Note: If serving as part of Vagabond Sandwich Plate: Line plate with red lettuce leaves. Arrange three slices Monterey jack cheese, several slices fresh roast beef, tomatoes, and dill pickle spears, and unmold ramekin of potato salad at side of plate. Serve with mini loaf of Famous Nut Tree Bread.

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