Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chipotle Potato Salad

This spicy potato salad is a great side dish to bring to cookouts and picnics as you savor the rest of August. Now, I personally find that a lot of potato salads (especially the premade supermarket ones) are bland if not outright icky-tasting, and have a mealy-creamy hospital-food mouthfeel -- but this has a good kick and a chunky texture, and makes a nice complement to grilled steaks, burgers, and many other charred meats of summer. Plus, the ingredients for a pretty large quantity cost about $5 -- you can easily multiply based on the size of your gathering. (I brought this today to a cookout that featured a roast pig, which was pretty exciting.)

This recipe uses red, or new potatoes, which tend to be the best for potato salad because they hold their texture and don't get grainy or crumbly, as brown (russet) potatoes do. Yellow waxy potatoes are another option, or you could try purple fingerlings sliced in half, for the visual effect. I peel off just the eyes and any brown spots on the potatoes, but you can peel them completely if you prefer (though I wouldn't with the fingerlings).


  • 2 ½ pounds red potatoes, sliced into inch-ish wedges
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced (halved cherry or grape tomatoes would also be good)
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • A few scallions or a clump of fresh chives, chopped fine
  • ½ cup chipotle mayo (blend a canned chipotle or two with ½ cup mayo in a food processor/blender, depending on how spicy your taste is)
  • Salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin to taste (probably 1 tsp each of the latter two)
  • A few tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil

Put the potato pieces in a large covered pot of salted water. Turn it up to high and let the water come to a boil. Check it after about 10 minutes; if you can put a fork through one of the potato pieces, they’re done.

Drain the potatoes in a strainer and sprinkle them with salt (I like sea salt for this). Doing this while the potatoes are hot will help the seasoning absorb better.

Let the potatoes cool to room temperature (you can stick them in the fridge if you’re pressed for time), and then mix them with rest of your ingredients in a big bowl or Tupperware container, using a wooden spoon or sturdy rubber spatula. (Add the olive oil and cilantro after you've blended everything else.)

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I sometimes add a diced, seeded jalapeno to this. I guess you could also add hard-boiled egg and/or celery if you're one of those freaks who likes those things in your potato salad, but that's between you and your God.

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