It’s an annual ritual from now until fall: Dig out the family potato salad recipe.
I’ve heard people say it’s easy to make potato salad. They must not be doing the work — just talking about it. It takes time and attention to prevent soggy/hard bland taters saturated with dressing.There’s the boiling/peeling of potato — and often egg.
There’s the timing so the potatoes are cooked just right: Not mushy/rocklike.
There’s the waiting (to cool) before chopping.
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There’s the other chopping: eggs, celery, onion, etc.
There’s getting the right mix of mayo and mustard and salt and pepper.
Then, you put it in the fridge, take it out the next day, mix it up, taste it and figure out what you need to do again: More mayo? More seasoning?
And so it goes. (Please let me make the baked beans instead.)
I’m not sure there are any shortcuts to potato salad. And maybe there shouldn’t be if you’re someone who really looks forward to it as a summer side dish.
There are classic family recipes out there that should not be tampered with. But, if you’re willing to step over the edge just a teensy bit, you could try this quartet of recipes that are a bit off the beaten track.
Pesto bacon potato salad
6 cups thin-skinned potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup purchased or homemade basil pesto
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup minced red onion
Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket over high heat. Add potatoes to the steamer basket, cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl, drizzle with vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Let cool to room temperature, about 25 minutes.
Whisk yogurt, pesto and mayonnaise in a large bowl until smooth. Add the potatoes and toss to coat with the dressing. Add bacon and onion and toss to coat. Serve immediately or chill up to 8 hours.
Makes 12 servings (1/2 cup each) with 132 calories, 5 grams fat, 16 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 4 grams protein.
GRILLED SWEET POTATO SALAD
2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
ROASTED JALAPENO DRESSING:
2 large slices red onion
2 limes, juiced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon maple syrup
4 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until just tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Drain potatoes and let cool. The skins should slip off but if not, gently slice them off.
Cut into 1-inch thick slices and brush with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Place on the grill and cook 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and cut into large dice. Set aside.
Make the dressing: Brush the onion slices and jalapenos with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.
Place on the grill and cook for 5 minutes until skin is blistered.
Remove from grill, let cool slightly, and rub off jalapeno skins and seeds. Finely dice the jalapeno and red onion in a separate bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients and seasoning with salt and pepper.
Add the red pepper, black beans and cilantro in the sweet potato bowl. Gently toss with dressing. Cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Warm Bacon Corn Smashed-Potato Salad
2 pounds red and yellow new potatoes
1 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 pound bacon, 1-inch chunks, cooked to lightly crisp
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 to 1 teaspoon horseradish
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender.
Meanwhile, mix together the Parmesan cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, horseradish, dry mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Squish the hot potatoes with a potato masher and add them to a large bowl with the corn and bacon. Combine.
Mix in the dressing carefully. Garnish with chives, if desired, and serve warm. Serves 6 to 8.
Garlic Aioli Potato Salad
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
1 tablespoon lemon juice, more as needed
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 pounds small waxy white or yellow potatoes, roughly about the same size
Black pepper, as needed
1. Place 2 eggs in a small pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat; immediately remove from heat; cover 8 minutes. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool. Peel and dice small.
2. Meanwhile, combine grated garlic, salt and lemon juice in a blender, and pulse a few times to combine. Pulse in remaining egg and the large egg yolk. With motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until completely incorporated and mixture (mayonnaise) is thick. Scrape into a bowl and fold in sour cream. Fold in celery and red onion.
3. Place whole unpeeled potatoes in a large pot with enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes depending upon size. Drain and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks as soon as you can handle them.
4. Transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with diced boiled eggs and 2/3 of the dressing.
Let cool to room temperature, or refrigerate until ready to use. Just before serving, toss with some of the remaining dressing to taste (if desired). Season with black pepper and add more salt if necessary. Sprinkle with chives, if desired. Yield: 8 servings.
New York Times