Thursday, July 2, 2009

Four Amazing Potato Salad Recipes for Your Fourth of July Cookout

Americans will be celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend, and that means loads of hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, watermelon, and, the perennial favorite, potato salad.

patriotic potato salad
Patriotic Potato Salad

Although most people will be enjoying traditional American-style potato salad with mayo, I won't, and neither will anybody in my family. Why? Because when my brothers and I were kids, my mother wouldn't dream of letting us eat mayo-based potato salad at cookouts. After all, how could she know how long it had been baking in the sun? There was no way she was going to risk her brood getting food poisoning, so we either skipped the potato salad or had our own olive oil and vinegar based potato salad instead.

string bean and potato salad with prosciutto
String Bean and Potato Salad with Prosciutto

Although it has been shown that mayo-based potato salad may not be as dangerous as once thought, I still prefer worry-free oil and vinegar based potato salads. If you're not sure which type of potato salad to make for this Fourth of July weekend, then I have four amazing potato salad recipes for you to try:
  • Lemongrass and Ginger Potato Salad
  • Arugula Pesto Potato Salad
  • String Bean and Potato Salad with Prosciutto
  • Patriotic Potato Salad
arugula pesto potato salad
Arugula Pesto potato salad

Tips for making great potato salad:
  • Use waxy rather than floury potatoes, such as Yukon gold, red bliss and fingerlings. They have a creamy texture yet keep their shape well when cooked. Although russet potatoes are exceptionally tender, they don't hold their shape well when boiled and tend to get mushy.
  • Cut potatoes into equal-sized pieces so they will cook evenly.
  • Don't overcook potatoes. Take them off the heat while they're still slightly firm. Drain and let cool before assembling the salad.
  • With or without skins? It's a personal preference. If you leave the skins on, be sure to scrub them well before cooking. Peeled potatoes work especially well for absorbing sauces such as pesto.
  • Season the potatoes while still warm to absorb the flavors more fully.
  • Warm potato salads taste best the day they are made; however, cold potato salads often taste better the next day. If you're making potato salad ahead of time, hold off on adding raw onions or fresh herbs until just before serving. You'll avoid unpleasant pungency and keep your herbs looking fresh.
lemongrass ginger potato salad
Lemongrass and Ginger Potato Salad

So here's wishing my fellow Americans a safe and spectacular Fourth of July weekend with lots of good friends, lots of sparklers, and lots and lots of potato salad.

You might also like these recipes for the Fourth of July:

The Southwest Hamburger

Chili Lime Fruit Salad

Elote, or Mexican Grilled Corn

Grilled Watermelon Slices with a Honey-Lime Syrup