A colorful, no-mayonnaise potato salad made with half potatoes and half sweet potatoes plus plenty of other vegetables for good color and good crunch. The recipe is a crowd-pleaser taste-wise and looks-wise.
A food snob is bad enough. But a knife snob? When one takes charge of your kitchen, look out.
Inspection starts with a cursory look-see, disdain barely feigned at an all-too familiar brand and a stick tang versus, y’know, a full tang. Sigh.
Then comes the test grip, checking heft and balance, followed by a telltale tilt to gauge the edge’s sharpness in the light, and finally the palm press, checking for, and finding, well, dullness. Big sigh.
I shouldda brought my knives, you hear. Then, You gotta sharpener?
Swoosh, swoosh, the blade scrapes against the sharpening steel, shards landing in the soup, you think. A palm press, another few swipe-swipe- swipes. There, that’s better.
Last year, faced with twelve pounds of potatoes, a larder of onions, peppers and celery, and hungry family at a rehearsal dinner the next day, I felt like a real knife snob.
There on my cousin’s counter was a revolving stand, black plastic and straight from a gas station maybe 20 years ago. There were nine (nine?) steak knives but no chef’s knife, not even a utility knife. Drawers? Nothing. Dishwasher? Nothing.
What’s a cook to do? Head for the supermarket for a knife, seven bucks Canadian, and yes, an improvement. What a snob.
I've made big batches of this salad for two weddings -- and single batches for numerous family potlucks. It's always a real hit. And I'm happy to report that this column prompted my cousin Lynda to replace her gas-station knives.
CONFETTI POTATO SALAD
Refrigeration time: 4 hours
Makes 8 cups
- 1-1/2 pounds potatoes (see ALANNA's TIPS), skins on
- 1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
- 1 large onion, chopped finely
- 1 red pepper, chopped finely
- 4 ribs celery, chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 1 - 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh tarragon, optional
POTATOES Place a steamer basket in a large pot or Dutch oven. Fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer, bring it to a boil.
Cut the potatoes, then the sweet potatoes, in about half-inch cubes. Arrange evenly in the steamer basket, potatoes on the bottom, sweet potatoes on top. Cover and cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
VEGETABLES Chop the onion, peppers and celery and set aside.
DRESSING Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
COMBINE Gently turn the chopped vegetables, cooked potatoes and fresh tarragon into the dressing. Season to taste, then refrigerate several hours before serving.
With no mayonnaise, this is a great contribution to outdoor meals and buffets when food will sit out awhile.
Use Yukon golds or yellow Finns for the potatoes.
While I like the somewhat dryer texture that results when the potatoes and sweet potatoes are steamed, cooking them in salted water also works just fine, just be sure to drain well.
It seemed like such a small change but whoa, what a difference. I once substituted dill relish for the sweet pickle relish. The dill relish was so salty, the salad itself was way way too salty. It would have been easy enough to adjust the added salt, but I didn't know until too late. But you do!
These days I drop the oil down to just one tablespoon, there's no missing it in the dressing!
Combine the salad while the potatoes are still slightly warm. That way, they'll soak up some of the dressing.
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