Sunday, August 29, 2010

Experimental Potato Salad

Where I come from there are two types of potato salad. There’s the kind that you find in most delis, the yellow kind with the celery and eggs, and German potato salad with the hot bacon and the tart vinegar dressing. I like them both for different reasons. The yellow kind is refreshing on hot day and I love the crunch of the celery and of course the hard boiled eggs. The German potato salad tastes a bit more complex, and depending when you get there, is served hot.

I have no strong leaning toward one or the other. If given the option of having both on a buffet, I’d gladly, and probably have, fill up two of my precious little Styrofoam compartments with a little of each. But as much I like them, I’ve never made either. During the summer when I crave it the most, it seems like such a hassle to boil, peel and slice the potatoes when the weather is hot.

Add to that the fact that it is easy to get everywhere else in the summer, and there hasn’t ever been any reason for me to make it myself. This summer though, I only remembered having it once while I was up north at my brother’s cottage, so I decided to give it a go myself.

Of course I didn’t make it easy on myself by choosing one or the other. Instead I made Potato, Corn and Cherry Tomato salad with basil dressing. It was about as different as I could get from the salads I had been brought up on. I picked it for the basil dressing, having received a large bunch in last week’s box and wanting to try something other than my usual pesto. I made it Tuesday when I got the vegetables and it kept well until tonight.

I had to supplement my CSA vegetables with Eugster's "famous sweet corn" and red potatoes. I had planned to buy potatoes at the farmer’s market, but didn’t get to the one on the square on Saturday or the one in Monona on Sunday, so I ended up buying them at Woodman’s. It felt a little strange after a summer of eating only local produce to buy a bag of potatoes in the grocery store.

Making potato salad wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. After rinsing off the potatoes all I had to do was boil them. My recipe didn’t even ask me to skin them. Probably the most labor-intensive part was taking the cooked corn off the cob, but that was nothing too.

In the end the salad was good, interesting, I suppose. The basil dressing was the best part. I liked how it tasted so different with each very different component of the salad. The combination of corn, potatoes and cherry tomatoes, also was unexpected. I liked the salad well enough, but I’m not in a huge hurry to make it again. It wasn’t too difficult to make, but I think I prefer the other kinds of potato salad more. Maybe I’ll try one of those someday.

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