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Archive for Saturday, June 3, 2006

You say potato, I say potato salad

June 3, 2006

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Potato salads are sharing a general direction in food trends - toward new flavor, trying bright new twists and adding peppy details from different ethnic or regional traditions.

These adventures in taste don't make an old favorite old-hat. They just give diners more choice: the traditional or variations.

The following recipes feature different takes on potato salad, the perennial summer dish. One is traditional-style, made with a home cook's favorite family recipe; the second is a basil-flavored recipe that borrows from Italian cooking; and the third recipe is influenced by the popularity of Thai food, with its bold flavors.

"Idaho's Best" Traditional Potato Salad

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds Idaho potatoes (5 large, or 8 to 9 medium)
  • 8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 dill pickle spears, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
  • 3 tablespoons liquid from dill pickle jar
  • 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Scrub potatoes well, but do not peel. Place potatoes in a stockpot, add water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and cook 12 to 15 minutes, or until a knife can easily pierce the potatoes, but they're still firm. Pour off the hot water and add cold water to the pot to help cool down the potatoes. Set potatoes aside while preparing remaining ingredients.

Roughly chop 6 of the eggs, saving two for garnish. Add the chopped egg to a large mixing bowl. Add the onion and chopped pickles to the bowl.

In a small mixing bowl, using a whisk, combine the mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, dill pickle liquid, yellow mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk well to combine; set aside.

Remove the cooled potatoes from the pot of water. With a paring knife, remove the potato peels (they will come off easily). Cut the potatoes into small cubes and add to the other ingredients in the mixing bowl. With a wooden spoon, gently toss the salad ingredients to mix. Add the dressing mixture and gently toss again to coat all ingredients well.

Transfer potato salad to a serving bowl. Slice remaining two eggs into thin slices and arrange them around the salad to garnish. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving (preferably overnight) to let the flavors combine.

Makes twelve 3/4-cup servings (about 9 cups of salad).

Source: DeAnne Wilkins, of Shelley, Idaho, whose husband is chairman of the Idaho Potato Commission

Italian Basil Potato Salad

For the dressing:

This photo provided by the Idaho Potato Commission shows Italian Basil Potato Salad, made with a recipe that picks up on Americans' longtime affection for Italian cooking.

This photo provided by the Idaho Potato Commission shows Italian Basil Potato Salad, made with a recipe that picks up on Americans' longtime affection for Italian cooking.

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 4 to 6 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarse salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds Idaho potatoes (5 large or 8 to 9 medium)
  • 1 small bulb fennel, cored, thinly sliced and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • Pine nuts or chopped walnuts for garnish (optional)

In a food processor, combine the first 6 ingredients (basil through black pepper); pulse to finely chop. With the processor on, drizzle in the olive oil to make a creamy, bright-green sauce. (Alternatively, combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.) Set dressing aside.

Over high heat, bring a large pot of water (salted with 1 tablespoon coarse salt, if desired) to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes (do not peel potatoes). Drop potatoes into the boiling water and cook, loosely covered, for 6 minutes, until a knife can pierce the potato easily but cubes are still firm. Drain potatoes and place them back in the pot.

Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in the basil dressing. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, olives and chopped fennel.

Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with pine nuts or chopped walnuts, if desired. For a nice presentation, serve the salad in "cups" made from radicchio leaves.

Makes sixteen 1/2-cup servings (about 8 cups of salad).

Source: Developed for AP by the Idaho Potato Commission

Spicy Thai Potato Salad

For the dressing:

  • 3/4 cup natural-style peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons chili oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the salad:

  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 1/4-inch-long pieces (about 4 ounces beans)
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips about 1 inch long (1/2 cup)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds Idaho potatoes (5 large or 8 to 9 medium)
  • Shredded napa cabbage (also called Chinese cabbage), for serving (optional)
  • Chopped peanuts and cilantro for garnish (optional)

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the dressing ingredients; set aside.

Over high heat, bring a large pot of water (salted with 1 tablespoon coarse salt, if desired) to a boil. Place the beans and carrots in a metal strainer that will fit into the pot of boiling water. Lower the strainer (with the vegetables) into the water and let them cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Using a towel to hold the handle, remove the strainer, rinse the vegetables thoroughly with very cold water, then drain well. Leave the pot of water on the stove.

Transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Add the peanut dressing and the red pepper pieces; stir to combine.

Add a little more hot water to the pot on the stove and turn the heat to high. While waiting for the water to boil, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch-thick slices lengthwise, then cut them in 1/4-inch-thick slices lengthwise from the other side. Finally, cut potatoes crosswise into thirds, making little sticks. Add the potatoes to the boiling water, cover loosely and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until a knife can pierce the potatoes easily but they're still firm. Drain potatoes and add them to the bowl with the other ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, stir to coat all ingredients with the dressing.

Serve warm or at room temperature. For a nice presentation, place the potato salad on top of shredded napa cabbage and garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro, if desired.

Makes twelve 2/3-cup servings (about 8 cups of salad).

Source: Developed for AP by the Idaho Potato Commission

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