Friday, May 25, 2007

Martha Stewart's Potato Salad - Perfect for Memorial Day BBQs

With the long Memorial Day weekend finally here, people all over will be firing up their BBQ and planning picnic menus. Never fear, our domestic diva is ready for us, mixing up a batch of her Potato Salad on the Today Show this week. If the recipe isn't enough for you, you can catch the video right here.

Basic Potato Salad
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart
Serves 8

Potatoes make satisfying side dishes in all seasons, summer included. What would a picnic be without potato salad? Opinions on which ingredients are essential to potato salad can vary (maybe your must-include is hard-cooked egg, or diced onion, or sweet pickle relish). Regardless, the starting point must be a basic recipe that promises a good outcome every time. My stripped-down method does just that -- all the salad needs are creative additions to make it your own.

• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 3 pounds waxy potatoes (such as Yukon gold or new), scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
• 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
• 4 scallions, white part minced, green part thinly sliced
• 3/4 cup light mayonnaise

Set a steamer basket in a Dutch oven (or large pot with a lid), and add enough salted water to come just below basket; bring to a boil.

Place potatoes in basket, cover pot, and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Steam potatoes, gently tossing occasionally, until tender, 15 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine vinegar, scallion whites, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and teaspoon pepper.

Add hot potatoes to vinegar mixture; toss to combine. Cool to room temperature, tossing occasionally, about 1 hour.

Add mayonnaise and scallion greens to cooled potatoes; mix gently to combine. Serve, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.

- For a potato salad that doesn't end up mushy, use waxy potatoes, which keep their shape better than starchy baking potatoes.
- For even cooking, make sure the potatoes are cut into uniform pieces.
- For a hint of sweetness, add a pinch of sugar to the vinegar mixture. For extra tang, sub in sour cream for some of the mayonnaise.
- For warm-weather picnics, make a no-mayo version: replace the mayo in my basic recipe with 1/2 cup olive oil whisked with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.
- For balanced flavor, keep your mix-ins simple (but still be creative). I like celery and hard-cooked egg. Take it easy on salty and acidic ingredients (combining, say, pickles, capers, and olives would be too much).

Mix-and-Match Mix-Ins (add after salad cools)
Sliced celery
Diced red onion
Sweet pickle relish
Chopped pickles
Slivered green olives
Chopped herbs
Chopped hard-cooked eggs
Crumbled bacon

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