The other day I attended a tribal pot-luck picnic. The culinary low was the potato salad – a medley of mashed potato and mayonnaise, yuk! My dream potato salad is creamy with thin slices of recognizeable potato that melt on your tongue with a cholesterol content akin to the interest rate on Canada Savings Bonds. I will let you in on the secret but first the abstract:
- steamed, not boiled,
- low fat yoghurt, not Hellmann’s.
- 2 lbs of mid-sized Yukon Gold potatoes,
- 2 cups of chicken stock (1 cube and boiling water),
- 4 tbsp white (wine) vinegar,
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard,
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil,
- 2 tbsp fat free yoghurt,
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped,
- 2 dill pickles, finely chopped,
- pepper and salt to taste.
Before we get our hands dirty, let me make a few editorial comments: performing this potato salad is not for the faint-of-heart. Although the actual work takes maybe half an hour, it will still keep you busy for the better part of a day. Plan to prepare it the day before you want to serve it. The other novelty, for many chefs, is ‘steaming’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steaming). Steaming is well worthwhile incorporating into your set of cooking skills. You, therefore, need steaming implements, be they state-of-the-art or improvised, plus a bowl that can take some heat, a cutting board and a very sharp knife.
Fill the bowl with cold water; peel the potatoes and drop them in the bowl. Raw potato by raw potato, cut them into thin slices maybe 1/8″ thick and drop them back into the bowl.
Start your steamer with about 2″ of water in the boiler and the drained potato slices in the basket. Put on the lid and steam for 25 minutes (20 minutes if you like ‘al dente’). Provide enough heat for a steady curl of steam to escape from the pot. Wash out the bowl, put in the bouillon cube and add 2 cups of boiling water, timed such that the stock is ready when the potatoes are. Carefully transfer the potato slices back into the hot stock, so it just covers the potatoes and let them soak in the stock, until it has totally cooled off.
Drain off the stock and add the vinegar. Let it soak into the potatoes for at least five minutes. In the mean time put the mustard into a small bowl and gradually stir in the oil. Add the yoghurt and stir, add the onions and pickles. Now carefully mix this dressing with the salad, so the potato slices don’t get mashed.
Best served refrigerated. Bon appetit!