We get these really great creamer potatoes this time of year. They are these small red potatoes and they are so great for roasting – like candy. Local, from the farmers’ market, and short lived, but wonderfully addictive. But I never realized how good those roasted potatoes could be for potato salad. I have been on the search for really good potato salad – for years. Now I have some ideas. Will be hitting Bailey’s Market this weekend and if that fails – the By-Pass Market in Milton.
And how to I do this amazing roasting – it’s dead simple. Cut potatoes in half – they are small, like golf ball sized, and put in a large bowl. Add olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Line a baking sheet w/foil and dump potatoes out and turn cut side down. Roast at 350 until a paring knife pierces the potato easily – about 15 – 20 minutes or so. That’s it. Not rocket science, but damn good potatoes.
So what makes a good potato salad?* To be honest, it is not something I grew up with and I’m not entirely sure why, but it may be that we were a rice family – not a potato family. And to this day mashed potatoes – ugh. I do love a good baked potato, but I think that’s because I can put cheese (cheddar) and sour cream and chives, if I’m growing them, on top. It’s really about the toppings, not the vehicle.
Okay, back to what makes a good potato salad – potatoes cooked well, to me, is a key thing. Also, seasoning them while they are warm and will soak up whatever flavor you add. A friend taught me a little trick – she used juice from a jar of pickles while the potatoes were still warm – it is a wonderful thing. I prefer sweet pickles, but if you like dill it will work too. I’m not a huge fan of potato salad w/lots of mayo. There needs to be restraint, and a good bit of acid – either vinegar or lemon juice. I tend to favor vinegar either from the pickle juice or just a little jolt of cider vinegar – esp. the good stuff – Gingras ExtraOld Apple Cider Vinegar – beyond amazing and used for special occasions. I really think I could just drink it, but I won’t.
Aside: I want to make a good pasta salad too – but what are the particulars? Again, I’ve tried and made some advancements on that front, but I’m still not really happy.
*German Potato Salad is another story entirely but it involves vinegar and bacon. And is another challenge.