March 21, 2007

Not your Mama's potato salad

Happy Spring everyone! Spring is officially here in NY as of 8:07 pm last night.
I like to herald in the vernal equinox with this colorful recipe. I've made it on the first day of spring many years in a row now, and it always cheers me up and gives me hope that the snow will melt soon! (yes, we still have snow, see here above) This was taken by mistake out the car windshield this morning. I was playing with the camera trying to show the kids in the backseat a photo and I accidentally took this one! We still have about a foot that hasn't melted yet.
OK, here's what you need to make this salad. It's actually more of a late summer salad due to the local availability of the ingredients, but the colors make me think of spring so I make it now.
Caribbean Sweet Potato salad
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 3 small Russet potatoes, peeled or scrubbed, and cubed
  • 1 medium red sweet onion, cut in half, and thinly sliced in half-rings
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled if desired, de-seeded, and diced small
  • 2 cups fresh raw corn cut off the cob (I freeze raw corn in the late summer for this), or frozen corn
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons prepared Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 tablespoons of peanut oil (or olive, or vegetable, etc.), depending on your taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place Russet potatoes in large saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil; add 1/2 tablespoon salt, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes. Steam the sweet potatoes in a separate pan about 5 minutes, or until just tender. They will be done much sooner than the white ones. Don't overcook!

If you are using frozen corn, drop it in the water of the Russet potatoes when they are basically done and cook for 30 seconds. Fresh raw corn need not be cooked. Drain both potatoes and corn and rinse well with cold water until cool. Place in a large bowl along with the cucumber and onion.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and the honey (if using). Slowly whisk in oil (sometimes I leave the oil out and just use more lime juice for a fat free dish). Pour the dressing over the vegetables and gently toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve room temperature or chilled, adding the chopped peanuts just before serving.
I have taken this dish to potluck and picnics and usually come home with an empty bowl. Folks always ask for the recipe, and last night the 7 year old, who is a self-proclaimed raw onion hater, gobbled this down and asked for more. If you aren't a raw onion fan, I recommend blanching the sliced onions in boiling water for 30 seconds with the corn--it will take out some of the 'bite'.