Tuesday, July 26, 2016

HEARTY, SUMMERTIME POTATO SALAD


July has reached its last week and temperatures are rising. With all the heat, “regular meals” just don’t entice. That’s when, for me at least, I begin to think of (did I say crave?) how good chilled potato salad is.  And what I have in mind is a truly hearty potato salad.

While picnics are the main reasons that we prepare potato salad - and as a side dish at that - I like to make mine almost whole meal-sized  – filled with cooked and fresh veggies along with a tangy dressing.  

Since there are a lot of fresh produce offerings at this time of year, I let the season - and what's growing in my small summer garden - suggest some fresh things to fill out the salad with. And that includes right now – besides the potatoes, cooked carrots and nopales, some fresh uncooked green onions and baby spinach. The uncooked greens make for a kicky garnish. Here, I pulled it all together with a mustard vinaigrette and opted for fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of vinegar..

So, take a look at this recipe. I’m sure you’ll agree that it's sure to be a summertime crowd pleaser.
I'd better put away some of this before I eat the whole bowl full.


Ingredients

2 pounds small new potatoes, scrubbed and boiled in skins in salted water
1/2 pound peeled carrots cooked in the potato water
1/2 pound cooked and drained nopales or could be cooked green beans as an option
2 cups lightly packed fresh baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons mustard – regular or Dijon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise – can be the eggless variety if you want
Smoked paprika powder to sprinkle on top

Instructions

In a large saucepan half filled with water, boil whole small potatoes and carrots.

Boil over medium heat until potatoes and carrots are easily pierced by a fork, about 8 minutes.

Hand peel the cooked potatoes (or not if you want). 

When cooked, reserve ¼ cup cooking water, then drain and cool.

Boil the nopales or green beans separately - until tender. Rinse the nopales. Let cool.   

Transfer potatoes, carrots, and nopales  to a large mixing bowl. Then add the chopped spinach and green onions.
   
Blend together with a fork olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and mayo. Thin the dressing out a bit with some of the reserved cooking water.

Drizzle the veggies with the dressing and mix well.  Let set for at least 15 minutes, tossing it once or twice

Notes
If you want to increase the protein in this dish, top it with egg slices, seeds or nuts. I used pepitas (squash seeds - found in almost any store in the Southwest).

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve. While best eaten the same day, it can be kept covered for a couple of days in the refrigerator.  

Try it right away to beat the mid-summer heat. I think you’ll agree that this is one super fresh-tasting salad – and much superior to the monotonous usual potato salad most often served up in homes, cookouts, and potlucks.

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