Thursday, June 24, 2010

Super Simple Potato Salad

I love potato salad, but I do NOT love tons of mayonnaise. I think that it is crucial to use mayo sparing. I tend to think of it as a binder. Also, it is a good base, from which you can add different, more delicious, flavors. I like to try different potato salads with many combinations of ingredients, but I always come crawling back to this super simple one. It goes with everything BBQ and people gobble it up. I especially enjoyed it with the BBQ chicken from the past weekend. The mustard gives a depth of flavor and the bacon adds some heft while the chives bring freshness. This potato salad comes together in a few minutes so it is one of the least stressful items on my BBQ menu. I like to make it when I am planning to try a more challenging main course and I want great side dishes without too much worry.

Super Simple Potato Salad
2 lbs. or 8-9 medium sized red (or other thin-skinned) potatoes
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 small red onion
6 slices bacon
2 Tablespoons chives

1. Rinse and slice potatoes into bite size cubes.
2. Throw them into a pot of well salted boiling water for 20 minutes until tender.
3. As per The Barefoot Contessa’s suggestion, drain off the water and put the potatoes back into the pot and cover with a clean towel so that they steam a little while you are getting on with the rest of your potato salad.
4. Dice the red onion. I do not like raw onion flavor so I sauté the red onion for only about 3 minutes or so in a hot pan with a little oil. It doesn’t take out all the crunch, it just mellows the flavors. If you like your onion raw, leave it that way, but if you like more mellow onion, then give it a quick sauté first.
5. Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, yogurt and mustard in a large bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
My sister thinks I'm freakishly yogurt obsessed, but I love the little zing it give to so many dishes and it is a healthy alternative without any sacrifice in flavor. I really think it makes the food taste better, while making my thigh looks smaller. Win-win.

6. OK…don’t freak out or anything. I would NEVER suggest this technique for making bacon to enjoy by itself in the morning. But, I am absolutely against going to all the trouble of frying up a pan of bacon and stinking my house up just to make a 6 pieces to chop up for potato salad. Place two paper towels on a microwave safe plate and plate the bacon slices on the plate. Cover with two more paper towels and microwave for 5 minutes.
7. Check to see if they are crispy. If not, give it another 2-3 minutes.

8. No one will know. I promise. Now chop the bacon into pieces.
9. Add onion, potatoes, bacon, and chives to the mayo mixture and combine thoroughly. Test to see if you need more salt and pepper.
10. Serve alongside your favorite BBQ.

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