Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday Food #11: Lemony Potato Salad

Nick doesn't like potatoes, have I mentioned this? It's inconceivable to Mark and me that we made a child who doesn't like potatoes, but alas, this seems to be the case. Even as a baby, he spit out the mashed ones we lovingly provided. (At the time, he would eat sweet potatoes, which I guess aren't really potatoes, but since the verbal years I think he's rejected them as well.) He will, of course, eat french fries and potato chips, which bear no resemblance to actual potatoes, and occasionally he'll even eat a "potato wedge" that comes with the fried chicken, despite the fact that you can tell where they came from.

Nonetheless I persevere in believing that one day he will like potatoes. So I made up this potato salad a few weeks ago when it was very warm and we barbecued and it seemed as if spring was on the way. In fact it was, it was just dragging its feet, and it will be here soon. So I'm told. But you can make this potato salad even if it doesn't quite feel like spring.

I'm guessing a bit on the amounts here, as I just dolloped (dollopped? dropped dollops of?) sour cream and mayo in at the end. But my dollops are probably about 2 tablespoons, or so I figure it. If it doesn't look right, add more. Or start with less if you don't trust me.

Lemony Potato Salad

6-8 fist-sized yellow (in my grocery store that's Yukon Gold) potatoes, cut into slightly larger than bite-sized chunks. You can peel them first if you like, but I prefer just to scrub them well and keep the peels on.
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbl. chopped or minced garlic
2 tbl. sour cream
2 tbl. mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Fill a large pot with cold water and drop the chopped potatoes in. (Or, you know, put them in the pot as you chop and then run cold water over them. Either way.) Boil until tender--stick a fork in and check after five minutes or so, and keep checking until they're the way you want them. This will depend on the size of the chunks and the heat of your stove. I don't mind if the potatoes get mushy in the salad, but if you do, drain them the minute they seem tender, and run some cold water over them to stop them cooking. When I do this, though, I end up with slightly crunchy potato salad, which just seems weird to me. So you be the judge.

While the potatoes are boiling merrily away, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic together to make a nice lemony dressing. As soon as the potatoes are drained, put them into a large bowl and pour the dressing over. Turn them over several times with a rubber spatula so all the potatoes are coated with dressing. If you like, let everything cool a bit at this point, while the dressing soaks into the hot potatoes. Or don't; I like warmish potato salad and I'm always running late, so I move onto the next step right away. Dollop in the sour cream and mayo, folding it into the potato/dressing mixture. Fold in the parsley and you're done.

I'm sure this would be good with tiny frozen peas folded in right with the dressing (so the hot potatoes thaw them and you don't need to cook them), or with chopped celery added along with the parsley, but I really liked the simplicity of this when I made it. I tend to prefer one or two-note salads rather than kitchen-sink ones; if you like more textures all together, though, go for it. Potato salads are pretty forgiving.

A note about potatoes: I think red ones would also be fine here, but just make sure you use something called "boiling" potatoes rather than "baking" ones. Baking ones get mealy, which is great in a baked potato but not so good in a potato salad. Go for the waxier ones. If they fall apart a bit when you boil them, they'll still taste good, I promise. But no, Nick didn't think so. He ate one bite under protest and then went happily back to the rest of his meal.

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