“You’re part Irish, aren’t you?” she asked.
“On my Dad’s side.”
“It’s so obvious, you potato eater,” she said. “It’s definitely not just the freckles.”
I love all things potato: potatoes au gratin, garlicky mashed red skin potatoes, baked potatoes, French fries (preferably with a little mayo on the side…perhaps I’m part-Belgian, too?), and all kinds of potato salad.
I have been known to buy a container of that unnaturally yellow supermarket potato salad and eat that—nothing else—for dinner. I order German potato salad whenever I can get it at restaurants (but, for whatever reason, have never tried to make it). On occasion, I even make potato salad at home.
The problem, of course, is that potato salad generally involves ingredients that, shall we say, don’t fall into generally accepted options for healthy living. If you’ve never looked at either the nutritional information or the ingredients list for that supermarket potato salad, don’t start now. There’s a reason it’s that color, and it doesn’t grow in nature.
In the past two weeks, I’ve been watching and occasionally participating in an online conversation about how to make the best potato salad. While it must be flavorful, it should also be a healthy side dish option.
Last weekend’s farmer’s market featured a grower selling teeny-tiny Yukon Gold and purple potatoes. I have a hard time resisting baby vegetables in any form, so I picked up a combination of the two and brought them home. They’d be perfect for a little potato salad experimentation.
One of the friends participating in the Great Potato Salad Debate suggested her mother-in-law’s (“…she makes the world’s BEST potato salad…”) secret: cook the potatoes the night before, then douse them with salad vinegar, salt and pepper, and let them soak in the flavor overnight. I’ve never tried that, so I thought I’d try it out in the hopes that this one easy step might help pump up the flavor – when you take out all the ingredients that carry all the fat, inevitably you take a flavor hit, too, and that’s what has kept me from making potato salad for an awfully long time.
I used red wine vinegar, and it turned out wonderfully. After mixing in the rest of the ingredients the next day, I had a huge bowl of mad-tasty potato salad on my hands: tangy and creamy, with a hint of relish for sweetness. Perfect for a guilt-free summer dinner side-dish.
Potato Eater’s Salad
2 pounds assorted baby potatoes (preferably an assortment of colors)
3-4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
3 Tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp. tarragon mustard
2 Tbsp. sweet relish
3 dashes hot sauce
Scrub the potatoes and cut them in half (or smaller—go for even-sized pieces). Boil them in salted water until tender. Toss them with the red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and let them cool overnight.
When ready to serve, add the onion, mayonnaise, mustard, relish and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. You may find you like more mayonnaise or mustard, or more relish or salt and pepper. Consider this recipe more guideline than gospel!
This post is part of Weekend Herb Blogging, which is back home at Kalyn’s Kitchen this week. Please check out the rest of the great recipes. I’m also excited to announce I’ll be hosting next week’s event here at The Inadvertent Gardener!