At the beginning of June, my daughter and I went on vacation to California to visit family who were out visiting from the East Coast. We hit the beach, Disneyland and Yosemite. Quite a week and a half, I must say, but it was well worth the fun. To top it off when we returned it was finally summer in Nevada.
Now, with summer setting in nicely and our nation's birthday coming up, I am making my staple potato salad, which is both a perfect recipe for the season and the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Just a little different from the rest, my Red, White and Blue potato salad packs great flavor and creaminess. Your guests won't know what hit them.
Red potatoes, which are more "waxy," some say, hold their shape well without becoming too mashed up. While white creamy dressing balances out the sharp blue cheese and crispy, salty bacon fuses all the flavors together.
If you think you do not like blue cheese, don't count this recipe out just yet. I served this potato salad to guests at a summer barbecue party, and even those who do not like blue cheese appreciated this salad and went back for seconds. The combination of bacon and blue cheese is one of my favorites. So when I thought of changing up my potato salad, I had no problems figuring out a flavor combination that would satisfy.
The trick, with any potato salad, is to season the potatoes while they are still warm so the potatoes are flavorful all the way through. In this recipe, we season the potatoes with white wine vinegar. However, if you like your potato salad with a vinaigrette dressing instead of a creamy dressing, put the dressing on while the potatoes are still warm and the potatoes will soak up all the flavor.
Potato salad is a great summer dish at potlucks or a quick side dish throughout the week. Potatoes are abundant at local farmers' markets now, as are herbs.
Red, White & Blue
3 pounds small red potatoes (skin on)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoons white wine
12 ounces package bacon
5-6 chopped green onions (green and white parts)
3⁄4 cup mayonnaise
11⁄2 cup sour cream
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1 sage leaf, chopped finely (or 2 teaspoons dried)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives (garnish)
Place whole potatoes in a pan cover with water and add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 20 minutes. Allow to cool enough to handle. Cube potatoes (or crumble the potatoes with your hands) while still warm and add vinegar.
Chop and cook bacon until very crisp (it will soften in the salad so be sure you cook very crisp so the bacon doesn't become too chewy). Stir in bacon and green onions (set aside a little for garnish) with the potatoes.
Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, blue cheese, sage, salt and pepper, to make the dressing. Toss dressing and potatoes, cover and chill for a few hours to mix flavors.
Top with the rest of chopped bacon and chives (or green onions) before serving.
Of course you need a good refreshing drink to go along with your potato salad. My daughter's favorite drink is fresh lemonade. For the little ones, it is so simple and fun to make it fresh at home.
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup lemon juice (5-6 lemons, depending on size)
3-4 cups water
Mix the water and sugar in a sauce pan and heat on low until simmering and the sugar is melted. Set aside and cool. This is simple syrup and can be used in anything from iced tea to homemade sodas to lemonade and cocktails. It keeps well for up to two weeks refrigerated.
Mix together the lemon juice and 3⁄4 cups simple syrup. Then add 2 cups of the water adding more to your liking.
• Amanda Skiba is passionate about cooking and posts her favorite recipes at www.stuffurface.wordpress.com