Potato Salad: A Makeover
Every year I decide I’m going to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. Every year I fail. It’s no wonder that my cholesterol has reached levels that a tire-waisted, booze chugging, take-out-food-every-night, 50+ male would be shocked by. There was a time when, in addition to and in between constant tastings at America’s Test Kitchen, I would eat on average 2 dozen large eggs and 1 pound of bacon (a modest estimate) per week. Let’s not talk about how much butter I was consuming.
Chronic heartburn and a constant feeling of being smothered by a large pillow did nothing to stop me. I kept eating. I ate more than my husband. I over-ordered at restaurants. I made male dinner companions look like sissies.
I still indulge in many of these fine, ladylike activities, however, I’ve cut back on the bacon, the Texas-sized portions of fatty steak, and the bi-weekly 2:00am slices of Philly cheesesteak-topped pizza, namely because I’ve noticed my youthful metabolism is no longer as vigorous.
I have, at long last, started cooking more vegetables. And I actually like it. Honest to goodness, there are nights when I have no animal protein and I’m not grinding my teeth afterwards, craving a hunk of meat. This is not to say that I’ve stopped being a carnivore—let’s not be hypocrites here—but it is nice to round out my weekly meals.
This salad, many of you will probably point out, doesn’t really count as salad because it’s full of corn and potatoes – both starchy. But c’mon, cut me some slack. I’ve still got my veggie training wheels on.
This is a charred corn and potato salad that is perfectly suited for summer. It changes up the usual over-mayonnaised potato salad and also takes the mess out of eating corn on the cob. The kernels are scraped off the cob and toasted in a skillet until dark and spotty black—no need for a grill here. While the smell of movie theatre popcorn drifts up from the pan, diced waxy potatoes get a jump-start on cooking in a plastic-wrapped bowl in the microwave. A quick sautée with garlic slices and these get a bold boost.
Flavored simply but boldly with freshly-squeezed lime juice, cilantro, and hot sauce (I’m on a Cholula kick at the moment), this turns out to be a healthier version of deli counter potato salad: only 1 tablespoon of the stuff is needed to add velvety richness to this dish. Fresh tomatoes bring an extra hint of summer to this salad that can be served with a green side salad for a completely vegetarian dinner or, what the hell, pair it with a good steak. Extra rare.
TOASTED CORN AND POTATO SALAD
Equipment: large microwave-safe bowl, plastic wrap, microwave, large skillet
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 3 hours
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
1 pound waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ears corn, shucked, kernels scraped off
1 tablespoon hot sauce hot sauce
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
4 tomatoes, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
Salt and pepper
- Place potatoes and garlic in microwave-safe bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until tender, tossing halfway through without removing the plastic, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat additional 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer corn to large bowl.
- Add potatoes and garlic to now empty skillet and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with potatoes.
- Stir hot sauce and mayonnaise into potato-corn mixture. Stir in tomatoes and lime juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.
- Salad can be made 1 day in advance; refrigerate in airtight container and bring to room temperature prior to serving. Re-season if necessary.
Print This Post