Switch up your salad: potato salad gets a makeover

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“November means new potatoes”, as the catchy slogan goes, and that means lovely potato salad in all its guises.

Traditional potato salad – dressing-heavy, gluggy, rich – leaves me a bit cold (pardon the pun). Those old-school potato salads – while they have their own appeal – to me don’t really celebrate the flavour, texture and loveliness of the new potato.

I do, though, love a salad using potatoes in a broader, more modern sense of the word.

To me that means a salad that lets the flavour of the potato shine. A salad that features other vegetables; that feels lighter and fresher than the very creamy, heavy salads of old. These kinds of salads suit the way we want to eat now: more vegetables; fewer carbohydrates; less processed stuff. A potato salad like this, done right, will be capable of pleasing almost anyone you might encounter at a summer gathering, except for the lowest of low-carb eaters. (The ‘keto’ or ketogenic diet is a popular one right now and would seem to preclude potatoes. This is one of the reasons I predict it won’t last as a trend).

Here are some of my favourite potato ‘salad’ ideas right now. Any of these can be a meal on their own, in my opinion, or add a piece of protein in the form of steak, chicken, fish etc.

  • A warm salad of freshly-cooked new potatoes tossed with extra virgin olive oil, finely chopped preserved lemon, blanched asparagus spears and black pepper.
  • Cooled little diggers with rocket leaves and lots of mint and black pepper, dressed with a 50/50 mix of yoghurt and mayonnaise thinned with lemon juice and spiked with black olives.
  • Cooled Golden Gourmets given a Japanese twist with wasabi mayo (again, lighten it up by mixing with yoghurt), studded with green peas and sprinkled with crunched wasabi peas.
  • Roasted smashed potato salad; roast Gourmandines whole, then crush roughly with a potato masher before spraying with oil and roasting again for a few minutes to go crunchy and golden. Toss through baby spinach leaves and garnish with toasted almonds and crunchy-fried bacon pieces.
  • Cheese and potato are great friends; try warm new potatoes treated like pasta and tossed with olive oil, grated fresh parmesan, chilli flakes, salt and black pepper.
  • Go for classic flavours and combine cooled new potatoes, chopped hard-boiled eggs, fresh parsley, tarragon and capers. Dress with a mustardy vinaigrette made with wholegrain and Dijon mustard.
  • Try a creamy vegan dressing for your salad using soft tofu as a base (yes, really); I am loving this blended well with peanuts or sesame seeds, soy sauce and honey but it could work equally well with almonds or macadamias and lemon.

There are so, so many more ideas out there; feel free to use these as starters. I’m making myself hungry writing this; I’m off to cook some spuds and celebrate the season.