Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No-Mayo Potato Salad

It's no secret that I despise mayonnaise. It's ranked number one in my list of most hated condiments and probably in the top five of my most hated foods of all time. I've felt this strongly about the stuff since I was a kid, so I've always avoided it like the plague. Sadly, that means I've also stayed away from all sorts of fare that, if not for the white goo, I would probably find quite tasty. Potato salad is one of those dishes I haven't been able to enjoy. A potato fiend like me, kept from such a potato-centric summertime classic! Absolutely tragic. Fortunately, the sad tune of that story changed a couple summers ago.

I was at a barbecue hosted by my friend Samantha when I spotted some potato salad on the table. To my surprise, it wasn't whitewashed. It also smelled vinegary and looked delicious. "Is it possible", I thought, "that I'll finally get to enjoy the goodness that potato salad can be?". I cautiously put a small serving on my plate and had a bite. Cue celestial music, followed by fireworks. It was all that I'd dreamed it could be. Curious, I asked Samantha about the salad. She was probably thinking the same thing you are, "First of all, it's just potato salad. Secondly, how the heck have you gone over twenty years without encountering a German-style (or vinegar based) potato salad?". But instead of looking at me like I was insane, Samantha graciously offered to send me the recipe, more of a template really, she used to make it. By the next day I had a few scanned pages of Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything in my inbox.

I've been making potato salad a bunch of different ways ever since. For the most part, I supplement the potatoes with whatever veggies I happen to have on hand. The one thing I always add are onions -- green, white or red-- or shallots, though. I make the dressing a little differently every time too, but one thing is for damn sure, I NEVER EVER add mayo.

No-Mayo Potato Salad
Makes about 4 servings
Inspired by Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything recipe
  • 3 lb young red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon miso
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced widthwise on the bias
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped parsely
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped Kalamata olives
1.  Fill a large pot about three quarters of the way with water and bring it to a boil. Salt the water and add the potatoes. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and set them aside in a large bowl.
2.  In a small mixing bowl, whisk the miso, mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil together until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients to the potatoes, drizzle in the dressing and toss to coat the salad evenly. Allow the salad to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Serve cold, or at room temperature if you can't help yourself (I couldn't).

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