Thursday, August 23, 2012

Potato Salad with Fresh Vegetables

I get excited about pretty simple things. Like compost (no photo available, you’re welcome). Like volunteer pumpkin vines with at least 7 pumpkins on them.

Like the fact that you can go so many different ways with potato salad. Since I’ve been posting way too infrequently this summer, it was actually quite some time ago that I made this light potato salad with simple rice vinegar dressing, fresh vegetables and olives. This dish is still quite appropriate to the season, perhaps even more so than when I made it. There are lots of great cherry tomatoes available around here (specifically in my garden, right next to the pumpkin patch) as well as bell peppers and cucumbers.

I used green bell peppers because really large and delicious ones have been available locally, but the bells in brighter colors (orange, red, yellow) are sweeter and maybe even prettier.  I also had some small, locally grown “new” potatoes that had plenty of nice, creamy, earthy flavor of their own.

Really, exactly which type of potato or what kinds of vegetables you use are a matter of personal taste and availability. Each of the lines in the list of ingredients below could begin with the word “about” (or “approximately” if you’re more sophisticated.) Tossing together what looks good and what tastes good and adjusting the seasonings is probably the best way to go for simple summer salads. Not only is that a great way to celebrate summer produce, but it’s also a great way to take it easy. Summer salads don’t need to be obsessed over, after all. They should be laid back and stress free. And, with its relatively small amount of oil and complete lack of mayonnaise, this one can be guilt free as well.



Potato Salad with Fresh Vegetables and Black Olives
Adapted from Cooking Light April 2008

Scallions would be a nice replacement for the onion.

1 ½ pounds small potatoes
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 cup chopped cucumber, peeled if skins are tough or greased
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped bell pepper
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped (or torn) fresh basil
½ cup sliced ripe olives

1. Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold water to cover by a few inches. Bring to a boil and cook
until the potatoes are just tender. Drain and let stand until cool enough to handle.

2. To prepare the dressing, combine the rice vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

3. When the potatoes are still a little warm, cut them in halves or quarters. Add them to the bowl with the dressing. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to coat. The warm potatoes will absorb the dressing more than cold potatoes would. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper or vinegar if desired.

Makes about 10 side-dish servings.

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