My mother makes delicious potato salad, but I've always had trouble eating it. As far as recipes go, it's fairly traditional: a mayo-based dressing, boiled & peeled potatoes, hard boiled eggs, herbs etc. But every time I took a bite it went something like this: chew, chew, chew, CRRRRRUNCH, UGH! spit...
That crunch, in case you're wondering, is apple. APPLE! She peels and dices it just like the potatoes so there is no way of knowing what's really lurking in there among the deliciousness. The only way to know is to take a bite, and by then it's in your mouth and it's already too late.
My dad loves the apple in the potato salad. He loves the crunch and the sweetness paired with the creaminess of the potato. Our summer barbecue guests were also fans, and so, despite our (that would be my brother's and my) years of pleading, the apples remained. The only way I could get through a serving was to carefully use my tongue to test for texture differences and then (as inconspicuously as possible) spit out the apple bits into a little pile just to the west of my plate.
Since then, I've mostly stayed away from mayo-based potato salad--I know from experience that that creaminess has a way of hiding all manner of sins--and have been drawn more to the the oil-based salads, rich as they always are with herbs and lemon. So you can imagine my surprise when one morning I found myself excitedly mixing the ingredients for this salad.
Mayonnaise is not the star of this show. Think of it more like an errand girl whose sole purpose is to run here and there and to make sure the vibrant flavors get everywhere they are supposed to be. Blended with roasted red peppers, roasted eggplant, and smoky and spice chipotle pepper, it's barely discernible. And the strong flavors all but assure that there won't be any unexpected (apple!?!) surprises.
This is a knock-out picnic dish, and one that you can easily throw together in less than an hour (plus cooling time). And if you're *really* in a hurry, pop the salad in the freezer when you're done. About 5 minutes in there and it will be cool enough to serve.
Roasted Potato Salad w/ Red Pepper & Smoked Paprika Dressing
(Heavily) adapted from a recipe by Bobby Flay
This spicy and smokey potato salad will appeal to those who like a little heat. The smoked paprika does wonderful things to the flavor, but also gives it a gorgeous, bright orange color--just perfect for a summer picnic.
2 pounds small red potatoes scrubbed and cut in half
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt (such as Fage)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup roasted red bell pepper slices (fresh or jarred)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded
1/4 medium-sized eggplant, roasted and cooled
2 tablespoons Smoked Spanish Paprika (hot or sweet)
1/4 teaspoon hot chili oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
Toss the cut potatoes with olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper until well coated and seasoned. Arrange on a baking sheet, cut side down, and place in oven until crisp on cut side and fork-tender (about 20 minutes)
While the potatoes are roasting, combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, bell pepper, chipotle pepper, eggplant, paprika, chili oil, and red pepper flakes in a food processor or blender, and process until creamy and smooth. Cover and set in fridge until ready to use.
When the potatoes are ready, remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes until they are cool enough to handle, but still warm.
When ready, add the potatoes to a large bowl and pour on the mayonnaise and pepper mixture and the chopped parsley. Toss well to combine evenly and taste for seasoning.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to cool completely before serving.