Happy Memorial Day/First Official Day of Grilling and Eating OutsidePosted: May 28, 2012
It’s been a mostly freakishly warm spring here in the Northeast and probably yet another sign the end of the world is coming (not to get dramatic or anything). But the upside of all this strange warmth is that plant life has been crazy lush and way ahead of schedule, and we’ve been able to sit outside and enjoy the patio and grill. (And sip my official drink of summer — the venerable gin and tonic). While I won’t be grilling on our patio this Memorial Day (although I might be on Nantucket, which is where we are spending this lovely long weekend), I thought I’d pull up a few of our best summer salads from the past to inspire you to great barbecue feats. Potato salad of course will get lead billing because it is one of my favorite salads ever and I’ve been jonesing for it for a while.
Getting together with a few friends on a warm summer night, eating good food, and catching up over drinks is absolutely one of my favorite ways to send dusk into darkness. Here’s hoping today is just the beginning of innumerable nights like that for you, your family and friends.
Rachel’s Potato Salad: don’t want the mayo version? Try this one
Got a yearning for something with pesto? Try this version of potato salad.
Need to feed a crowd? This simple pasta salad will satisfy everyone.
And finally, my potato salad, which, sadly, does not have a photo so you’re just going to have to imagine its mayo-y wonderfulness or — better yet — make yourself a batch and dig in. The secret ingredient? Dill pickles and some pickle juice. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.
makes about 8 side servings
4 Russet potatoes, skins on, and diced into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, diced
3 celery stalks, slit lengthwise and diced
2 kosher dill pickle spears, slit lengthwise and diced
1 tablespoon kosher dill pickle juice
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2-3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
Boil the potato pieces until just done, about 5-10 minutes. You don’t want them overcooked or you will have potato mush
While the potatoes are cooking, dice the onion and celery and place into a large bowl. Add the other ingredients except the salt and pepper.
When the potatoes are done, drain and rinse immediately in cold water to stop the cooking. Add the cooled potatoes to the other ingredients, toss and add salt and pepper to taste. I like my potato salad crunchy so at this point, I take the first of a few (okay maybe several) bites to make sure I’ve got enough celery in there. If not, I add another diced stalk.
This is best served cold so make it ahead of time. I always taste again before serving to see if I want to add more caraway, mustard or mayo — at least that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.