Thursday, July 2, 2009

Canada Day Potato Salad

I find it interesting to hear people talk about potato salad. I almost get the impression that, in order to make potato salad, you must think that your version is the absolute best, and you must remain fiercely loyal to your choice of ingredients and recipe. It isn't something that I grew up eating, but I have tried it a few times. I've never found one that has made me want to do backflips, usually finding them kind of bland; plus, the texture weirds me out. Cold mashed potatoes? No, thank you!

In the mood to experiment in honour of Canada Day yesterday, I decided to try making my own version of potato salad. Since I felt no traditional obligation to include any particular ingredient, all I envisioned were big chunks of potato in a simple, creamy dressing. After a bit of research, I found a couple of recipes from Martha Stewart to use as inspiration, combining elements of both to achieve my perfect potato salad.

I chose a patriotic combination of red and white potatoes for my dish. After boiling, I followed one of Martha's great tips and added vinegar and onions to the potato chunks while still hot. They really absorbed the vinegar as they cooled, which ensured that they remained very flavourful in the salad. I'm convinced that the end result wouldn't have been the same had I simply added vinegar to my dressing. Genius!

I used a mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream (both full-fat; sorry, Martha) to make the dressing, to which I decided to add some fresh dill for even more flavour. After the salad sat in the fridge for a few hours, I folded in some green onions and a little bit of bacon, and served it up to Jeff and some hungry friends.

I was really pleased with how the potato salad turned out. It didn't have very many ingredients, yet it was full of great taste. I enjoyed the texture of the chunky and vinegar-infused potatoes, and the creaminess of the dressing. The green onions and dill ensured a burst of fresh flavour in every bite, while the bacon...well, bacon just makes everything better! It was a total success.

Happy birthday, Canada! May we share this potato salad for years to come.

Canada Day Potato Salad: The Recipe
Serves 6-8
Inspired by Martha Stewart.

4 lb small and/or new potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
½ cup white wine vinegar
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
6 green onions, minced, divided into green and white parts
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Cover potatoes with cold, salted water in a large pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork (12 to 15 minutes.) Drain.

While potatoes are boiling, combine white wine vinegar with the white parts of the green onions, and a bit of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add warm potatoes, and toss to coat. Let potatoes cool to room temperature, tossing occasionally.

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, and salt and pepper to taste. Add to cooled potatoes. Refrigerate salad for at least a couple of hours.

To serve, fold in remaining green onions and bacon. Taste and season, if needed.