Sunday, September 23, 2012

Palette for a Food Artist - Potato Salad

Though food preparation can be considered an art form, there are certain recipes that can be changed so often, they can be compared to an artist's palette. As the artist would mix colors and use different brushes for texturing, so would the cook with ingredients and kitchen gadgets.
A perfect example of this is potato salad; a side dish that can be served warm or cold, with or without mayonnaise, and, well the list of ingredients that can be added in is close to nameless. What is the origin of potato salad? Well that depends on what country you're in, for any country that has potatoes as a staple has some form of salad associated with it. My grandmother's salad is a version of German potato salad, but without the addition of bacon; I still make it the same as she did to this day.

Basically any type of potato can be used and they are normally peeled and boiled until tender (not firm, but not falling apart). Once it became known that the skin of the potato is loaded with nutrients, leaving the peel, or parts of it, became popular. Then came the question of "what to do with leftover baked potatoes?" and making them into a salad became an option. Baked potatoes tend to become very dry and starchy as they cool, but cutting them up, adding moisture such as mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, sour cream, butter and/or oil gave them new life.

So what exactly can be put into a typical potato salad; the one where the potatoes are boiled or baked, peeled or unpeeled, cooled or left warm? Sorry, but I don't have enough room to list it all, but here are a few choices: diced celery, onions, jicama, radishes, pickles. Seasonings such as paprika, ground black pepper, ground or crushed cayenne pepper, dill, rosemary, thyme, chives, mustard (yellow, spicy brown, Dijon), horseradish (ground or creamy). Bacon and/or chopped hard boiled eggs for protein.

Potato salad is the palette, ingredients are your colors; be the artist and create your own masterpiece.

Mary Cokenour

1 comment:

  1. Spot on, Mary. I need to find a way that has less mayo but still has a lovely texture. Have a great week.