Suzi's Blog

Brian’s Potato Salad ala Hungary

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We have just had the summer solstice and now, officially now, is the season for barbecue and all the side dishes that tradition dictates we bring to the table: beans, slaw, cornbread, potato salad, …
Ah, potato salad. Many of us grew up on that mayo-and-hard-boiled-egg-and-celery recipe, but there are options aplenty. For your consideration, here is minimalist version of potato salad with few ingredients but deep flavor and some heat. This time the heat is not from south of the border, no chipotle here, but instead from Hungary. You’ll be fascinated by what a touch, and I do mean a touch, of hot paprika can do.
If in preparing this salad you do happen to go overboard with the paprika, do not fear. A little additional apple cider vinegar and some salt can restore a modicum of balance.
From this basic recipe, you are free to add in what you want: those hard boiled eggs, or herbs, or some peppers. Even that chipotle. But, on your first pass, stick to this recipe to see how enjoyable a very basic potato salad can be.

 

Brian’s Potato Salad ala Hungary

Yield: serves 8

Ingredients:
• 3 pounds new potatoes
• 5 slices of bacon
• 1 red onion
• 2/3 cup sour cream
• 1/3 cup mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• Salt and pepper
• 1 teaspoon hot paprika
• Sliced scallions for garnish, if desired.

Preparation:

Boil the new potatoes until soft to a knife, then allow to cool to room temperature.

In the meantime, cook the bacon until crisp. Set aside to cool.

Slice and then dice the potatoes into thin pieces and place is a metal bowl. Dice the bacon and add to the bowl. Finely dice the onion and add to the bowl.

In a separate bowl, add the sour cream, mayo and vinegar. Whisk to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour this dressing over the bowl of potatoes, bacon, and onion. Stir slowly to mix. Make sure every piece of potato has dressing.

Add the 1 teaspoon of paprika and again stir slowly to mix and make sure everything is coated. Taste test to your satisfaction. A single teaspoon of paprika will give you some flavor and heat. Add more if you desire, but be aware you’ll soon be creating a paprika, and not potato, salad.

Put the metal bowl in the refrigerator to chill. When read to serve, dust each portion with some sliced scallion.

Source: Brian O’Rourke
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for 1/60th second at ISO
1600

Cucumber and Poppy Seed Salad

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This is the salad Suzen pairs with a Moroccan Spiced Chicken [yesterday’s post!]. The chicken is hot out of the oven, coated with a sweet and spicy sauce. This salad has its own heat, from different sources, and its own sweetness from honey. The salad is served cold so you can alternate bites of “hot” chicken and “chilled” salad.

This contrast is delightful and, in Suzen’s menu, amplified by a Moroccan Couscous that sits between this salad and the chicken. The recipe for the couscous come tomorrow.

We adapted this recipe from the cookbook Ottolenghi, one of the three exceptional volumes by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. You’ll enjoy the deliciously authentic, and often simple, recipes in those books. Even better, you’ll find them an inspiration to experiment and create.

In this recipe, different vinegars and honeys, different chilies, or exceptional salts can make a substantial difference in the final salad. Yes, even the poppy seeds can be swapped out for your personal favorites.

Cucumber and Poppy Seed Salad

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 small cucumbers
  • 1 small onion, finely minced
  • 2 mild red chilies or jalapenos thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon parsley for garnish, optional
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Chop off and discard the end of the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers at an angle, so you end up with pieces ⅜-inch thick and 1-¼ inches long.

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands to massage the flavors gently into the cucumbers. The salad should be sharp and sweet, almost like a pickle.

If not serving immediately, you might need to drain some liquid off later. Adjust the seasoning again afterward.

Sources: adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.0 for 1/25th second at ISO-3200