“Making potato salad,” Suzen said to me a couple of weeks ago. It was a statement, not a question. And, it was pretty obvious. I had emptied out half the pantry and the refrigerator. Vinegars, two of them. Pickles, real ones and jalapenos. Mayo, mustard. Bacon was cooking. Eggs were being hard boiled. I had chives and scallions both out and was dicing them up.
Making potato salad can be a major project. Too major at times. I wanted to try a different tact, one that was equally flavor filled and yet a snap to prepare. And less messy.
It’s fall, or so the trees and fading ferns tell me. The summer heat has made the corn sweet, and it struck me that combining that fall corn with potatoes might prove interesting.
Rather than vinegar and pickles for accenting the flavor, I went to my key player: chipotle. But, but, I know, you see jalapeno everywhere these days. The intense flavor seems to waft down the street from every kitchen window and restaurant door. Ah, but what if you use just a little, really little chipotle. Just a hint of flavor that can blend and meld with the other ingredients — and not dominate the entire dish.
That’s what I’ve created here. The dressing is thick and rich because I employ crème fraiche along with the mayo and just a touch of sour cream — remember, the idea here is not to be too sour.
At the end of the list of ingredients, I do include the usual but optional suspects. You can try this recipe without any of them, or depending on your imagination and compulsions, you can augment your salad to your personal delight.
For this recipe, I’ve suggested using only one ear of corn, for accent in color and a touch of flavor. You can certainly go with two or three ears here to make this a more intense corn-potato mixture.
As always, potato salad only gets better with age. If only that were true for the rest of us!
Brian’s Very Simple Potato and Corn Salad
Yield: serves 6
- 2 large russet potatoes, washed but not peeled
- 1 ear of corn, or more if you desire
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and diced
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup crème fraiche
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 small chipotle chile, with attached adobo sauce
- Options: scallions, herbs, chives, pickles, hardboiled egg, crumbled bacon, vinegar, …
Fill a medium saucepan with cold water and place the two potatoes in the saucepan. Turn on the heat, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked: a knife can easily pass through the potatoes. Remove from the heat, and fill the saucepan with cold water. When the potatoes are cool, put them in a metal bowl and refrigerate until well chilled.
Cook the ear of corn. I use the microwave method: put the whole ear in the microwave for 4 minutes. When cooked, removed the kernels from the ear and allow to cool.
Dice the onion. Dice the chilled potatoes and combine both in a large bowl. Add the cooled corn kernels.
In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, crème fraiche, and sour cream. Whisk to mix.
Finely chop the chipotle. It will more likely “mush” instead of easily chop. That fine. Add the chipotle and all the attached adobo sauce to the whished mayo mixture.
Pour half the mayo-chipotle mixture over the potato-corn mixture. Gently mix with a rubber spatula. Season with salt. Add more of the mayo-chipotle mixture to reach the desired level of dressing density. The picture above was taken with only half the dressing applied. And, and, I added the corn kernels after putting on the dressing. You may want this “prettiness” or you may want the chipotle tang applied to everything.
Place the salad in the refrigerator for at least one hour to allow the flavors to meld and refine.
Source: Brian O’Rourke
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/40th second at ISO‑250
It’s strictly your choice. This salad can be just that: salad. Or, it can be the entire meal. There is asparagus and zucchini here, which provide bulk and substance as well as flavor. Tomatoes provide their usual accents while avocadoes donate their rich, cream texture, here in a grilled format.
There is so much going on flavor wise, that the salad is quite fulfilling. Of course, just to add that extra layer we all desire, this salad comes with crostini covered in the goat cheese of your choice.
Chilled white or rose wine is a natural accompaniment. You want a brisk wine flavor that is strong enough to announce its presence in the face of all that vegetable competition. And one that works with goat cheese.
The most common wine paired with goat cheese is Sauvignon Blanc. Albarino from Spain is enjoyed there with their very particular and prized goat cheeses. Riesling will work well as do Chardonnay or Syrah. If you are lucky, you can query someone in a gourmet shop that furnishes both wine and cheese to get an accomplished pairing. It’s a task to know wine, a task to know cheese, and surely a leap to be expert in both.
Grilled Vegetable and Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese Crostini
Yield: serves 4
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 1 ½ tablespoons coarse-grain Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salad and Crostini:
- 5 ounces baby arugula (about 7 cups not packed)
- 2 firm but ripe Hass avocados, quartered, pitted but not peeled
- 2 medium tomatoes (preferably heirloom), halved lengthwise
- 2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
- 1 pound thin asparagus, woody stems trimmed
- Olive oil, for brushing
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small baguette, cut on a very sharp diagonal into twelve ¼-inch-thick slices
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, shallots, and mustard together to combine (but not emulsify). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make the salad and crostini, prepare a grill for medium-high cooking over direct heat.
Place the arugula in a large wide shallow bowl or on a large platter and set aside.
Lightly coat the cut sides of the avocado quarters, tomatoes, zucchini, and the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush one side of the baguette slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Grill the baguette slices for about 2 minutes per side, or until they are toasted. Spread the goat cheese over the crostini. Set aside on a plate.
Next, grill the avocados, cut side down, for about 3 minutes, or until they are slightly charred and grill marks form. Using your fingers, remove the peel from the avocados and place the avocados on top of the arugula. Grill the remaining vegetables, turning them as needed, until they are slightly charred, about 5 minutes per side for the tomatoes, about 4 minutes per side for the zucchini, and about 5 minutes for the asparagus. As the vegetables come off the grill, arrange them on top of the arugula.
Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and the crostini. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the salad at the table and serve with the crostini.
Source: What’s for Dinner by Curtis Stone with inputs from About.com
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/60th second at ISO‑1000