18 June 2016

Potato Salad ~ Make it Your Own!

I think we are at about the middle of the New Potato season and, of course, salad season in the UK so I thought I’d give some ideas for enjoying potato salads.

new potatoes

New potatoes are ideal candidates for salad as they have a waxy texture (and therefore don’t fall apart) and their skin is tender so there is no need to peel them, indeed doing so would detract from the dish.

Some suggestions ...

~   Add some flavouring when cooking the potatoes – mint leaves, whole cloves of garlic (which can then be mashed into the dressing) or whole spices for instance.

~   It is a good idea to add some of the dressing to the warm potatoes or at least sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of cider or white vinegar and then finish dressing shortly before serving. This will be absorbed and make the salad even deliciouser that if dressed cold.

~   For more of a main course salad add cooked chicken or chorizo or bacon bits or perhaps some smoked fish.  In the latter case the addition of whole grain mustard to the dressing would be beneficial.

Mayonnaise Ideas ...

~   Mayonnaise can be lightened with a little yogurt, crème fraiche or sour cream and flavoured with garlic, herbs, spices etc. according to your fancy and the other dishes in the meal.

potato salad
 ~   Include something crunchy – thin slices of celery, red onion or radish for instance.

~   A very simple but impressive dressing is made by puréeing a bunch of spring onions OR watercress with the mayonnaise.  

~   Classic American potato salad is drizzled with vinegar as above and contains celery, red onion, pickle (NB. in America “pickle” refers only to a cucumber that's been pickled as in dill pickle or sweet pickle and has nothing to do with Piccalilli or Branston etc.) and, crucially, boiled eggs. In fact, once or twice when feeding Americans, I have been excoriated for not included boiled egg in potato salad as if such a thing is unthinkable which, of course, it is not!

American potato salad

 Vinaigrettes ...

Potato salads dressed with vinaigrette are equally as good as mayonnaise based salads and are lovely served warm.  For instance ...

Warm Potato Salad with Fresh Herb Vinaigrette – serves 4

In two stages as the ingredients are somewhat repeated!

700g new potatoes – washed but not peeled
120ml good olive oil
2 tablespoons cider or white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt

~   If the potatoes are large cut them into attractive bit sized pieces.
~   Cook the potatoes in gently boiling water for about 15 minutes till tender.
~   Meanwhile whisk together the rest of the above ingredients
~   Drain the potatoes, cool for a few minutes and then toss gently with the dressing and set aside for about half an hour.

2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 finely chopped shallot
a small handful of chopped parsley
a small bunch of chives.

~   When the half hour is up gently stir this through the potatoes and serve.

If making ahead just re-warm the salad slightly when serving.

Kartoffelsalat - German Potato Salad

700g new potatoes – washed but not peeled
4 rashers smoked bacon
1 small red onion, diced
60ml cider or white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
 salt and pepper to taste
small bunch fresh parsley – chopped

~   Prepare and cook the potatoes as above.
~   Dice the bacon and fry till browned and crisp (you may need to add a drizzle of oil to the pan depending on what cut of bacon you are using).
~   Remove and set aside the bacon and add the onions to the residual fat in the pan.
~   Cook the onions till softening and starting to brown.
~   Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, bring to a boil.
~   Add the cooked potatoes to the pan together with half the bacon and half the parsley and when all heated through turn off the heat.
~   Serve warm garnished with the other half of the bacon and the parsley.
warm potato salad

Inspired by writing this post have just had a lovely lunch of smoked salmon with new potatoes in a lemon and chive dressing with just a touch of Thai chilli sweet sauce.

smoked salmon and potato salad

Honey Mustard Dressing

This final recipe combines mayonnaise and vinaigrette to make a perfect dressing for potato salad to serve with ham.

60ml olive oil
60ml cider vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons of honey

~   Whisk all the ingredients together, taste and season and use to dress warm new potatoes.

Now it's your turn  make the potato salad of your dreams!

In Other News ~ Two Things ...


1.  I am back in whites – a bit! I have a part time job making the desserts for The Traveller’s Rest, a happy, friendly foodie pub not far from Newquay. Actually they are looking for a head chef and a sous chef (too much work for me at my age!) so if you are that way inclined get in touch with them. 

2.  I have just read another weird but fascinating book published by Legend Press. 

As I say on my review on both Amazon & Goodreads ...

I have just finished reading Wild Life, I read it very quickly, I was hooked from the start.
This unusual tale (Legend press seem to specialise in quirky different novels) tells the story of a guy who, down on his luck and desperate, is "adopted" by a group of similarly desperate and homeless men who live and survive together in a local park.
At first all goes well but things soon deteriorate and life becomes frightening, violent and barbaric, in some ways it reminds me of Lord of the Flies.
The book is well written, the characters are real, the story is believable and possibly serves as a warning of what could happen if society as we know it breaks down.
Go for it!

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