Roasted Potato Salad

As fall approached (and soon returned from whence it came, but that’s neither here nor there) this year, in the midst of stockpiling canned pumpkin, planting potted mums and dreaming up Halloween costumes, Josh and I attempted to wax nostalgic about the autumnal orange-hued pleasures of last fall.

We got nothin’. Not a single memory apart from making a mad dash to a Halloween superstore on Halloween to rummage through the wreckage of picked-over eleventh-hour bits and bobs left over from Halloweeners with better organizational skills (and far more free time). Somehow we managed to find cohesive costumes in a pair, even though our “costumes” consisted only of devil horns. But I digress.

Our memories of last fall are inclusive of little aside from turning Lowe’s into our second home, my griping about that blasted second coat of paint, packing up my apartment and covering ourselves in sawdust. Hearty homemade meals, mums, weekend baking and pumpkins? Not so much when deep in the throes of an all-consuming home remodel. We didn't even have an operational oven.

Needless to say, this fall I have been nothing short of the happy homemaker, with my 18 cans of pumpkin on reserve and purple (what else?) fall mums coddled occasionally tended to by the front door. I’ve baked sticky, sugary, cinnamony treats every weekend, have fed my family their fill of slow-cooked meats and ensured their bellies are full of hot, chunky soups.

So when Alyssa of all people requested salad for dinner last Friday night, and Josh requested grilled burgers, I resolved to find a side dish that would throw a little fall into our suddenly-summery early November evening meal. There’s nothing I love more than potatoes with burgers, but sweet potato fries seemed too easy, too obvious. Cold, boiled potato salad would be all wrong.

Enter: roasted potato salad. Served warm or cold, roasting the potato chunks prior to tossing them in mayonnaise brings out amazing caramelized flavor, and a depth you would never find in a boiled potato. I’m not sure I’ll ever serve potato salad another way; since potato salad is so versatile as it is, it can be easily customized to suit your favorite potato salad recipe. Just roast the potato pieces instead of boiling them. Who knew?

For my variation, you will need:

6-8 medium potatoes, skin intact, cut into medium-sized cubes and/or wedges
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 green onions, white and light green parts only
3 chives, diced
1 teaspoon smoked (or regular) paprika
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss potato pieces in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet pan or pizza stone for 20 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. Remove potatoes to a plate and let cool to nearly room temperature if serving warm, or cool in the refrigerator if serving cold.

In another bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, onions, chives, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to blend thoroughly. Add potatoes and toss to coat in mayonnaise mixture. Serve immediately.

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