By Jolene Adams
Classic, creamy, southern style, old fashion, mustard, the list of potato salads can go on and on. Everyone has their favorite to take to a summer picnic, party or potluck.
Not too long ago, potato salad got a bad rap. The mayonnaise it contained was blamed for making people sick at potlucks and picnics. People were worried that mayonnaise left out in the summer heat would cause food borne illness.
Well, frankly speaking, almost any food not handled, prepared, or stored properly can cause bacteria to grow resulting in a foodborne illness. Most items found at a picnic such as potato salad, coleslaw, meats, cheeses and fruits, just to name a few, should be kept either below 40 degrees or above 140 degrees. Basically, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. The longer amount of time a food sits in a temperature zone above 40 and below 140 degrees, it becomes more susceptible to bacteria growth, which can cause someone who eats it to become sick. That’s definitely not the outcome any of us want to experience after attending a summer picnic.
Does this mean we should discontinue events outside with food? Heck no! Keep enjoying the backyard barbeques, afternoons in the park or at the zoo, family reunions, sporting events and picnics. Just be thoughtful of what you bring and how you plan to keep it hot or cold.
I often take potato salad to a summer get-together. There are so many versions of this dish to make that my friends and family never get bored with it. I’m always careful to keep it cold throughout the event. There are several ways to do this. First, and the least expensive option, is to fill a bowl that is slightly larger than the container of potato salad with ice. Set the container of potato salad into the bowl of ice. Make sure the sides of the potato salad are surrounded by ice. This is probably the messiest setup. The ice melts and the bowl sweats creating a puddle of water on the table.
I prefer to use an insulated casserole carrying bag. They are sold online and in many retail or kitchen stores. Most are designed to hold hot or cold food. I found one that has a separate zippered pouch for ice packs. The food is kept cold without the condensation from the ice packs. It will sit right on the table top and all you do is unzip the top to serve.
This summer, get outside, meet up with friends and family and enjoy yourself. Make sure you keep your potato salad cold. Here are a few to try this summer!
Garden Potato Salad
Makes 8 servings
*3 pounds new potatoes, halved
*1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
*4 ounces fresh snow peas or sugar snap peas
*3 tablespoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard
*3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
*1 teaspoon sugar
*1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*2/3 cup olive oil
*1 cup loosely packed fresh herbs (such as basil, chives, mint, and dill), coarsely chopped
Bring potatoes, water to cover, and 1 tsp. salt to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until tender; drain. Cool 30 minutes.
Cook snow peas in 2 cups boiling water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat 1 minute or until crisp-tender; drain, pressing between paper towels. Cut peas into 1/2-inch pieces. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill until ready to use.
Whisk together mustard, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium bowl; gradually add olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until smooth.
Gently toss together potatoes and 1/2 cup dressing in a large bowl, and let stand 30 minutes. Just before serving, gently stir in peas, herbs, and remaining dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Blue Cheese and Bacon Grilled Potato Salad
Makes 6 servings
*3 pounds baby red potatoes, cut in half
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
*1 cup mayonnaise
*1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
*1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
*2 teaspoons sugar
*2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
*1 cup thinly sliced red onion
*4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
*6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Place potatoes in a single layer in center of a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring up foil sides over potatoes; double fold top and side edges to seal, making 1 large packet.
Grill potatoes, in foil packet, covered with grill lid, 15 minutes on each side. Remove packet from grill. Carefully open packet, using tongs, and let potatoes cool 5 minutes.
Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add potatoes, tossing gently to coat. Stir in onion, blue cheese, and bacon.
Dilled Potato Salad with Feta
Makes 6 to 8 servings
*2 pounds small red potatoes, unpeeled
*1/3 cup red wine vinegar
*1/3 cup vegetable oil
*3 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried dill
*1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon pepper
*1 large red bell pepper, chopped
*1 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
*1/2 cup sliced green onions
*4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Bring potatoes and water to cover to a boil. Cook 25 to 30 minutes or just until tender; drain and cool. Cut potatoes into quarters.
Whisk together vinegar, oil, dill, salt, and pepper. Pour over warm potatoes.
Stir in chopped bell pepper, cucumber, and green onions; add cheese, and toss to combine. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Lincoln Land Community College offers credit programs in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, Baking/Pastry, and Value Added Local Food, and non-credit cooking and food classes through our Community Learning Culinary Institute. For more information, visit our website at www.llcc.edu.
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