Dressing Up Potato Salad

 Potato salad is everywhere during the summer---in Church socials, picnics, barbecues, outdoor grilling, you name it. And usually it's always the same: boiled and cubed potatoes drenched in mayonnaise with some salt and pepper. But there are ways to dress up this favorite so it doesn't get boring.

Basic potato salad involves placing 1-2 pounds potatoes (could be either new potatoes, russets, or specialty potatoes) in cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender (10-15 minutes, depending on size). Drain under cold running water, cut in half, quarter or slice, and gently toss with the desired dressing. My preference is for the potatoes not be peeled. They should be cooked with their skins on. Nothing could be easier. It's how you dress them up that counts. Following are some ways to dress up the spuds and give this common dish some new zing.

Basic Salad Dressing

In a bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried), and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the potatoes and serve.

Chimichurri Potato Salad

To the basic Salad Dressing above, add 1 small red or green chili; 1 clove minced garlic; 1/4 cup chopped scallions; and 4 strips of lemon zest, thinly sliced.

Potato Egg Salad

In a large bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons sour cream; 2 tablespoons mayonnaise; 1 teaspoon white vinegar; 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped. Stir in 4 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped; and 2 half-sour pickles, cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss with the potatoes, and serve.

German Potato Salad (an Old World favorite)

In a large bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Toss lightly with the potatoes and serve.
Note: In some recipes, 1 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber is added to the potatoes. Then paprika is sprinkle over the dish and served. 

Waldorf  Potato Salad

(Presumably created by chef Oscar Tschirky of the Waldorf  Astoria Hotel in New York sometime in the 1890s)

In a large bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons sour cream; 2 tablespoons mayonnaise; 1 tablespoon white vinegar; 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard. Toss with the potatoes and add 1 cup small red grapes (cut in half); 4 stalks thinly sliced celery; and 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts.

There you have it. Go at it, and enjoy.

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