Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kirsten's Own Creamy Potato Salad

I know that I made a potato salad a couple of weeks ago, but the stars aligned; I've been wanting to make homemade mayonnaise and for my mom's birthday we're planning a picnic and she loves potato salad. So I ended up making a creamy version of potato salad. But don't think this is your mother's or grandmother's version. In fact, this was one that I created when I was cooking for a Methodist church that had regular meetings on Wednesday nights.

Cooking for the Methodists, as I deemed it, was something of a challenge for me because most of the parishioners were older and preferred more traditional foods. Racking my brains for something to please them I came up with this mayonnaise based potato salad. It turned out that everyone loved it even though it was missing the traditional boiled eggs which are ubiquitous in Midwest Style Potato Salads. It seems that people really like something when they want to know what was in it and everyone kept wondering what the "mystery" ingredient was in the salad (that would be Parmesan cheese).

This recipe definitely was inspired by "Kristina's Potato Salad" from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook, including tomatoes and toasted sunflower seeds. But Katzen's salad has tarragon as its main herb while mine relies on parsley.

I rarely feel the need to adhere strictly to ingredients, but this one exception proves the rule. I find the combination of flavors and textures creates a perfect salad (if I do say so myself!) I hope you enjoy it!

Kirsten's Potato Salad

1 lb red and yellow potatoes, similar sizes
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2-3 roma tomatoes, diced
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard, country or dijon or your preference
salt and pepper to taste

Bring pot of water to boil and add potatoes and cook until potatoes just slip off fork. Drain and as soon as you're able to touch them, cut into bite size pieces, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and salt. Toss well and set aside. Add tomatoes, onions, pepper, celery, parsley, and parmesan cheese to potatoes. Toast sunflower seeds in toaster over on sheet pan or dry fry (no oil) in skillet or cast iron pan on top of stove until they become fragrant and begin to brown. Add to potatoes and vegetables. In bowl or measuring cup, combined vinegar, mayonnaise and mustard and mix to form sauce. Pour over potatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.