Classic or with ethnic twist, potato salad really satisfies

  • Associated Press
  • Tuesday, June 13, 2006 9:00pm
  • Life

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

These adventures in taste offer diners more choice: the traditional or variations.

The three recipes here feature different takes on 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 is influenced by the popularity of the bold flavors of Thai food.

For the dressing:

2cups packed fresh basil leaves

3/4cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)

4-6large cloves garlic, peeled

2tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2-1teaspoon coarse salt (or to taste)

1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

1cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

21/2-3 pounds Idaho potatoes (5 large or 8 to 9 medium)

1small bulb fennel, cored, thinly sliced and chopped (about 1 cup)

1/2cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (2 ounces)

1/2cup sliced black olives

Pine nuts or chopped walnuts for garnish (optional)

In a food processor, combine the first six 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 16 1/2-cup servings. Per serving: about 235 cal., 4 mg chol., 237 mg sodium, 4.5 g pro., 16 g fat, 21 g carbo.

This family recipe was created by DeAnne Wilkins, of Shelley, Idaho. Wilkins is the wife of the chairman of the Idaho Potato Commission.

21/2-3 pounds Idaho potatoes (5 large, or 8 to 9 medium)

8hard-boiled eggs, peeled

1medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

3dill pickle spears, chopped (about 2/3 cup)

1/2cup mayonnaise

1/2cup Miracle Whip salad dressing

3tablespoons liquid from dill pickle jar

2tablespoons prepared yellow mustard

1/4teaspoon garlic salt

1/4teaspoon 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 six 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 12 3/4-cup servings (about 9 cups of salad). Per serving: 251 cal., 149 mg chol., 298 mg sodium, 6.5 g pro., 14 g fat, 25 g carbo.

For the dressing:

3/4cup natural-style peanut butter

1/2cup unsweetened coconut milk

2tablespoons soy sauce

2tablespoons honey

2teaspoons chili oil

1teaspoon sesame oil

For the salad:

1cup green beans, cut into 1/4 -inch-long pieces (about 4 ounces beans)

2small carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips about 1 inch long (1/2 cup)

21/2-3pounds 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 are 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 12 2/3-cup servings (about 8 cups of salad). Per serving: about 222 cal., 0 mg chol., 183 mg sodium, 6 g pro., 11 g fat, 27 g carbo.

Recipes developed by the Idaho Potato Commission

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