June 12, 2011

Summer Eats: Potato-Egg Salad

As things heat up around here (hello, 100 degree days!), we're finally entering barbecue season. Lazy afternoons in the sun spent catching up with friends, making new ones, and of course, stuffing our faces with delicious food-- I look forward to them all winter! There are a few "rules" to these events, though. 1) There are a handful of dishes that MUST be present, and 2) You can't arrive empty handed. This weekend, we fulfilled both rules for a friend's BBQ by combining two classic must-have side dishes: potato salad and egg salad.

While this recipe requires a fairly large number of ingredients, a lot of them are kitchen staples, so we only had to purchase TWO items to fulfill the requirements. My kind of dish! Even better, it's relatively cheap, and doesn't take long to make.

Potato-Egg Salad (serves 12)

For the salad:
9 medium red potatoes
7 eggs
1/4 sweet, white onion (such as Vidalia)
3 stalks celery
1/2 c. finely chopped parsley
1 bunch green onions

For the dressing:
1/2 c. plain lowfat yogurt (could sub Greek for a thicker dressing)
3 heaping Tbs. mayonnaise (we use low-fat mayo with olive oil)
2 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. dill

To get things started, place eggs in a pot and cover with cold water. Cover, and set over medium-high heat. Wash and cut potatoes into 1"-1.5" chunks, and follow the same instructions as with the eggs, in a separate pot.

You can finish up the rest of the prep while these two cook, but be aware of the different cook times for both: for eggs, bring to a rolling boil, then remove from heat and keep covered for 12 minutes. For the potatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly (to prevent boiling over) and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork (cook time will depend on the size of your potato chunks, but ours went for about 12-15 minutes).

Meanwhile, chop up the other ingredients for the salad. The potatoes should be the star of the show, so finely chop the other ingredients to prevent any large chunks that can't stick to the potato pieces.

Green Onions

Sweet Onion


Don't forget the parsley too! Combine all of these ingredients in a large bowl- the bowl you're intending to serve the salad in is fine, if there is enough room for mixing.

Next, prepare the dressing by simply mixing together the yogurt, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and dill. I've provided a rough estimate of how much is needed, but you can change it up depending on what you have on hand, or if you like your salad a little wetter, saltier, etc. Using a base of lowfat yogurt will save you a boatload of fat/calories and overall makes the salad a little lighter (more room for burgers!).

Check the potato progress, and if they're done, remove from heat, strain and gently rinse with cold water. You'll want the potatoes to cool for about 10-15 minutes before you mix them in, to prevent wilting of the parsley and scallions. When the eggs are ready (after sitting in the hot water for the requisite 12 minutes), remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl full of ice water. This speeds the cooling of the eggs to allow for the final steps of the salad preparation.

When cool enough to handle (4-5 minutes in ice water should be plenty), carefully peel the shells off and dice the eggs in a similar size to the other small components of the salad (celery, etc).

Add to the bowl with the other chopped ingredients.

Final step- mix everything together! It can be a sort of messy process, but your goal is to have everything evenly coated with dressing and the finely chopped veggies and eggs well incorporated throughout.

The salad can either be refrigerated or served immediately at room temp, but to maximize the flavors, prepare it a few hours ahead of time (or even 1-2 days).

The big chunks of cold potato are really satisfying, yet refreshing- and way better than the small, mushy lumps you find in store bought potato salad. The dressing provides a little zing, while the onions and celery give a bit of fresh crunch to every bite. It's certainly not an inspired, award-winning original recipe, but its a comforting classic. Plus, what's a summer barbecue without potato salad?

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