10 August 2009

Last-Minute Potato Salad

I planned on telling you about a great method for slow-roasting pork shoulder today, but I got sidetracked last night. I wanted to pull together a quick dinner that came mostly from the grill. The chicken and summer squash were perfect for the hot coals, but two large potatoes would need something else. That's when I remembered a great potato salad I had at the Garden State food cart in Sellwood recently.

Yes, I know I recently raved about Grandma Sarah's Potato Salad, and that one still is, indeed, my favorite. When you're in the creamy kinda mood. But sometimes I could do without the mayo hangover. This potato salad can be made in a matter of minutes, and it's somewhat deceptive. Don't get me wrong, it does look good, but it tastes even better than it looks. Using a less starchy new potato means that the vegetable holds its shape, and thinly sliced raw onions become soft thanks to the vinegar-based dressing. The key is to dress the potatoes while they're still warm -- an opposite from a mayo-based potato salad. The warmth means that the potatoes are opened up and ready to absorb the dressing. That means the potatoes aren't coated in a dressing, they're saturated with the dressing, soaking it up like a dry sponge dropped into a wet sink. Delicious.

The best part is that the cook time on this is about five minutes, the prep a little less and then the rest is just to let the salad sit for a bit to come together, save a few tosses. This is the perfect time to tend the grill, talk about the day or drink a glass of wine. That, is a perfect potato salad.

Last-Minute Potato Salad

2 large new potatoes
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3-4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chopped herbs such as rosemary or parsley

Cut potatoes into thick slices, roughly one-half inch. Steam potatoes just until tender. Remove from heat to dry for a few moments. While steaming, combine remaining ingredients to make dressing, whisking to bring the oil and vinegar together. Taste dressing and adjust seasoning as desired. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, but still warm, pour the dressing over top of them. Using your hands, gently toss to coat potatoes in dressing without breaking them apart. Let potato salad stand for about 20 minutes, tossing every five or so minutes to continue to coat potatoes. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Serves about two as a side dish. Double or triple proportions accordingly.

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