Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Charred Tex-Mex Potato Salad

For our Corcoran Street birthday party for America I tried to think simply. I knew to expect a large crowd who would swarm like locust at the buffet table and leave in time for the fireworks. This was not an occasion for gourmet anything. I needed simple, tasty, carb-heavy, and most important, something that I could make the day before and just set out on the table when the BBQ started. All I wanted to do was claim a seat by a big fan with my friends and not worry about anyone getting botulism from lukewarm mayonnaise-based salads. While searching the interweb for inspiration, I came across this Southwestern Potato Salad and I liked what I saw. To make it a little different, I boiled the potatoes but then I threw them on the grill pan to get nice char marks all over. It doesn’t take much extra effort, but the added flavor is worth it. This dish was delicious, but it was my distant second favorite side dish of the day behind Sarah Fox's gut-busting macaroni and cheese, 2 serving of which have now taken up residence as my new set of love-handles. It was worth it!
Charred Tex-Mex Potato Salad
2 pounds red potatoes
3 ears of corn
3 large celery stalks
1 red onion
1 red bell pepper
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
1 jalapeño pepper
1 small can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
2 limes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Slice the potatoes into 1 inch cubes, place in a pot, cover with water and 1 Tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 10 minutes until cooked through, but still slightly firm.

2. Drain them thoroughly and pour them into a hot grill pan. Shake them around occasionally and cook for 15-20 minutes, until they are nicely charred on all sides. 3. Slice the pepper, celery, and onion into bite sized pieces.
4. Drain and rinse the black beans.
5. Slice off the corn kernels and rinse them thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear. This should eliminate any chalky taste from the fresh kernels. You could also use a can of corn here to make it even easier.
6. Slice the jalapeño in half, removing the seeds and white vein (which are super spicy) and then chop as finely as you can.
6. Combine potatoes, beans, onions, celery, both peppers, and corn in a large bowl.
7. Coarsely chop the cilantro and add to the bowl.
8. Make the dressing by finely chopping 2 of the chipotle peppers and placing them into a small bowl. Add a teaspoon of the adobo sauce, juice from 2 limes, vegetable oil, salt and pepper and whisk together to form the dressing. Pour over the salad and toss until combined.
9. It will keep overnight in the fridge beautifully for no-fuss serving at your next BBQ.

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