recipe: Cilantro lemon potato salad to spice up your Memorial Day meals
Jessica Webster | AnnArbor.com
My main objection to potato salad is that it can be so heavy, especially considering that it's often paired with other heavy foods like hamburgers and hot dogs. I decided there must be a potato salad recipe out there that I could love as much as I do mashed, roasted, baked or boiled potatoes.
I do love potatoes. Perhaps it's my Dutch heritage. I found this quote from a blog about Dutch cuisine: "For most Dutch people, a hot meal without potatoes is like a bicycle without pedals." Vincent van Gogh wasn't kidding around when he painted The Potato Eaters.
True to that Dutch heritage, I do some of my best thinking on a bicycle. Maybe that's dangerous, since I should probably be paying closer attention to bad drivers and nasty potholes, but a bike is the only place where I am not distracted by conversation, music and other shiny things. So I got on my bike and rode, dreaming of potatoes.
A few miles later, I got off the bike with a vision. Cilantro. Lemon. Shallots. Purple potatoes. I was going to invent the most delicious, flavorful, light potato salad in the history of the world!
A Google search quickly burst my bubble. I got 1.3 million hits for "lemon cilantro potato salad." Apparently my culinary imagination isn't going to be setting the world on fire anytime soon. The good news, though, is that this plethora of potato salad recipes meant that I had my choice of recipes to adapt for this column.
This recipe made its debut on a food blog called Eat Boutique. The recipe calls for garlic scapes, which haven't made their appearance yet in my garden, so I replaced them with green onions, and used shallots instead of sweet onion, since they have a more complex flavor profile.
I bought the gorgeous purple potatoes from the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. When combined with the olive oil and lemon, they have an almost buttery texture. I also used red new potatoes for color and texture variation, but you can just as easily go with all purple potatoes for an intense visual statement.
Lemon Cilantro Potato Salad
adapted from EatBoutique.com
- 3-4 pounds potatoes, both purple and red
- 4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (about 1/2 a cup)
- Lemon zest, from 2 lemons
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon, Dijon mustard
- 6 pours of olive oil (about 6 tablespoons)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water. Since the purple potatoes I found at the farmers market were much smaller than the red potatoes, I halved the red potatoes.
Bring to a boil and cook until tender to a fork, about 15-25 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander. As they cool, make the vinaigrette.
Put the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper in a little jar that has a lid. I used about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake until well combined.
Chop or slice the potatoes into your desired shape. I cut them into quarters. In a large bowl, place the potatoes, shallots, green onions, cilantro and lemon zest. Pour the vinaigrette over the top. Toss everything very well and leave to marinate at room temperature until the rest of your meal is ready to be served. Taste just before serving and re-season, as needed, with salt and pepper.