A Pair of Special Potato Salad Recipes (plus what you’ll need for next week’s brats)
Summer has finally arrived, though officially not for 2 weeks, and I’ve cleaned up the barbecue. These last few semi-cool days, I’ve been making sausage, and planning ahead to both Flag Day (June 14) and the Fourth. Having taken French for four years in in high school from an American teacher who dearly loved the art and architecture of France, I also have a mini-celebration in her honor on Bastille Day (July 14). Lots of barbecue ops!
And, while next week I’ll post my new favorite brat recipe, this week it’s a couple of variations of America’s favorite dish—and mine—The Potato Salad. One is traditional with boiled eggs and mayo, and the other is for those watching their fat, salt, calories etc—made with avocado instead of mayo.
But first let’s talk about the brats to come. This brat recipe is made with ground big game meat (whatever deer, elk, moose, antelope etc. you have in your freezer) and beef fat. Not that long ago, if you wanted a bit of beef fat, all you had to do was ask at your local grocer’s meat counter. That’s not always a good source these days, since meat now comes in trimmed chunks from big commercial processors and local grocers, if they still do have a meat counter, just take it down from there. And often the fat’s been trimmed off at the big processor’s.
If I only need a little fat, that still works. But for 5-10 pounds or more, I’m now going to local meat processors, often the same guys who butcher game animals for hunters, sometimes (since I live in Montana) from small shops who butcher locally raised beef. (This is where the locavor movement has helped us hunters.) The brat recipe I’ll be posting next Monday is a 3-pound batch, mixed half and half with ground venison to fat. So find your beef fat, get it ground up, and be ready. You can try out the 3 pound batch for Flag Day, then make a bigger batch of brats for the Fourth. Whichever, you’ll need ½ the total weight of the batch in ground beef fat and ½ in ground big game meat. (A little extra for oopsies is always a good idea, too.)
To Paraphrase Paul Revere, “The brats are coming! The brats are coming!”
But first a pair of potato salads to go with the brats, and anything else you grill. BTW, both of these recipes are from Tenderize the Wild: https://www.riflesandrecipes.com/product/tenderize-the-wild-marinades-brines-rubs/
My Traditional Potato Salad Recipe
I’m a potato salad addict. And I make it a lot. For guests, I always add the boiled eggs. I figure they expect it. But just for John and me, I leave them out–and add a lot more veggies. (Too many, John sometimes says, but I like a veggie-rich potato salad.) So when you make this one, you have a choice: to egg or not to egg. If you leave them out, I doubt that you’ll feel deprived. The sweet peppers, celery and dry mustard add a lot of punch to this little side dish. FYI, some days I need more punch that others—that’s why there’s the ‘½ to 1 teaspoon’ listed for the salt and dry mustard. Start with the ½ and add a bit more if you need it.
- 1 pound potatoes
- 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped, optional
- 1 each orange and red mini sweet bell peppers, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ to 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ to 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- Coarse ground black pepper to taste
- Boil the potatoes until just fork-tender. (About 20 minutes for medium sized potatoes; more for bigger ones.) Boil the eggs.* Cool both with running cold water, then chill both the potatoes and eggs 1-2 hours.
- Chop the chilled potatoes and combine them with the diced eggs, bell pepper, celery and red onion in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Gently toss the mayonnaise mixture into the potatoes mixture. Cover, chill 1-2 hours, and then serve.
*Perfect Boiled Eggs: Poke a hole in the fat end of each egg with a safety pin, then place in a saucepan just large enough to hold the eggs in a single layer. Cover with cold water. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover the pot, and let the eggs sit another 15 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs unti they’re cool enough to handle, then transfer them to a bowl, and chill in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to make the salad, peel and chop the eggs.
Fusion Potato salad Recipe
I’m not a big avocado fan. If there’s a big Costco bag of them in the fridge, they’re John’s, not mine. But one time in Namibia, while hunting the wily kudu, lunchtime came and there were avocado sandwiches. And nothing else. Miles from home, and hungry, I ate, and was surprised to find that avocado on fresh baked, German-style whole wheat bread, was not only delicious, but satisfied my thirst. (Rather like eating watermelon, I’d say.) Thing is, avocados are so moist that they replace mayonnaise very easily, and add healthy fats (which, no doubt, my good friend Ms. Mayonnaise never heard of) and lots of rich texture. This is a vibrant, healthy potato salad that will surprise you with its flavor. But do add the red pepper flakes gradually at the end. Pepper heat multiplies, 1×2, rather than growing 1+2, if you know what I mean.
- 1 pound potatoes
- ½ avocado, seeded, skinned and mashed
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup cilantro*
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛-¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
*Start with ½ cup cilantro to end up with ¼ cup pureed. Most fresh leafy herbs chop down about half in volume.
- Boil the potatoes until just fork-tender. (About 20 minutes for medium sized potatoes; more for bigger ones.) Cool with cold running water, then chill 1 to 2 hours.
- While the potatoes cook, combine the mashed avocado and lemon zest in a small bowl. In a mini grinder, purée the cilantro, then the garlic, and stir them into the avocado/lemon zest mixture. Add the olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes. (Add only ⅛ teaspoon of red pepper at first, then let the salad chill before tasting it, and perhaps add the other ⅛ teaspoon of heat. I prefer this salad with ⅛ teaspoon; John goes for the whole enchilada.)
- Chop the chilled potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Gently toss the avocado mixture into the diced potatoes. Cover, chill 1-2 hours, and then serve.