Monday, June 27, 2011

'Tater Salad Revisited

As a kid, my mom was always in charge of bringing a salad to any church potluck.  Seven Layer salad, Caesar salad, some weird sort of Asian inspired thing with La Choy Chow Mein noodles in it (you know, to give it some crunch) name it, ask and Phyllis shall provide.

And she would provide it in the biggest Tupperware container my seven year old eyes had ever seen.  I mean this thing could hold a baby.  And not one of those Cabbage Patch Preemies, either.  I'm talkin' big enough to hold that unfortunate smoking baby big.

Okay.  So maybe not that big.

And someone should smack that baby's parents.


My fave was when my sweet mother would fill up that tub with her old school potato salad.  Good ol' Idaho Russets, finely chopped red onions, crunchy celery, and chunks of hard boiled eggs (why do all old school recipes have hard boiled eggs?)...all bathed in Hellmann's mayonnaise and a liberal sprinkling of Lawry's seasoned salt.  It was the most delicious, heart attack in a bowl I had ever eaten.

Well, summer is here, and, while I no longer attend church potlucks on a regular basis, it's always nice to revive a classic and put a new spin on it.  You never know when a potluck might pop up.

Now if only I could get my hands on that Tupperware...

Caramelized Onion 'Tater Salad 
Red, White, and Blue (ummmm...Purple) 'Tater Salad

'Tater Salad! with turkey cheeseburgers and asparagus.
I used a medley of red, purple, and Yukon gold new potatoes.  Feel free to use just one variety.  I do recommend using the smaller, new potatoes.  They'z prettier.  Having a hard time finding peppadews? Check out the salad bar!

2 1/2 lbs new potatoes, washed and quartered
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
4 celery stalks, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup peppadew peppers
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 Tbl basil, chopped
2 sweet Vidalia onions, sliced
2 Tbl balsamic vinegar
4 Tbl. butter
2 Tbl olive oil

3/4 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1/4 mayonnaise
2 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 Tbl rice vinegar

In a large saute pan, heat butter and oil over a low flame.  Once melted, add sliced onions and cook them slowly, stirring occasionally, to bring out their natural sugars. When the onions have cooked down and are a beautiful golden caramel color, crank up the heat briefly and de glaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, allowing it to reduce.  Remove from heat and set aside.

While the onions begin to cook down, get out a big ole pot and scrub them 'taters up good.  Slice them in half, then into quarters.  Dump 'em in the pot and cover with cold water.  Throw in the garlic cloves (whole), bay leaf, and season water liberally with salt.  Cover the pot and place on a high flame until they boil.  After they come to a boil, remove lid and simmer for about 5 more minutes until done.  A fork should slide easily into the potatoes, but they should still have a little bite to them. Drain potatoes and discard bay leaf and garlic.  You don't want to bite into that.

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, mayo, mustard, and rice vinegar.  Set aside.  While everything is cooking away, prepare the rest of the ingredients for the salad.  While the potatoes are still warm, combine all ingredients and toss with the dressing.  Allow to come to room temperature and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Season with salt and pepper.

If you like a creamier salad, add a touch more yogurt.

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