Potato Salad w/o Mayonnaise

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The red potato was first cultivated in Peru. It was introduced to Europe by  via Spanish sailors returning from the Americas.  Of the more than five thousand varieties of potatoes in the world, the most common variety in the United States is the red potato. Red potatoes are often labeled as “new potatoes” although this actually refers to prematurely harvested potato. Though there are literally hundreds of varieties of red potatoes the most common red potato is ruby red smooth-skinned that has a waxy firm white flesh.

Red potatoes are roughly rounded to oval in shape and small to medium in size. The entire potato is edible. Their flavor is more robust compared to many pale skinned varieties. This a versatile potato which holds its shape well and thus should be used beyond the assumed baking and frying recipes. Red potatoes’ flavor and texture lend themselves best to boiling and roasting applications. They absorb accompanying flavors well and offer a textural element in a variety of dishes both cold and hot. Red potatoes are considered a quintessential salad potato.

I was at a barbeque event 3 months ago and was been asked to contribute a potato salad for this outdoor festival. Most potato salads require mayonnaise but my friends explicitly requested otherwise.  I originally borrowed this recipe from one of my cookbooks. Rather than using whole red potatoes for my version, I’m going to include red fingerling potatoes instead. This recipe includes capers, flower buds of a bush often used in Mediterranean cuisines. They are usually pickled in brine and jarred. Their taste is similar to olives but a bit spicier. Not many people enjoy them and if you are one of those people, you can use 2 medium size pickles chopped instead. But don’t cook them :c)

You’ll need:

  • 1.5 to 2 lbs of red fingerling potatoes
  •  1/2 tablespoon of Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons of capers
  • 2 medium red onions peeled and chopped
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar
  •  4 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped chives for garnish

Place the potatoes and salt  in a pot and cover them with about an inch of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat, simmering for 10 minute. Drain potatoes in a colander and let them cool. Cut each potato in half and place them in a salad bowl. In the meantime, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and saute over medium low heat for 15 minutes. Add capers and cook for 2 minutes (you can skip this step if you choose to). Add sugar and vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes. When done cooking, pour onion mixture over the potatoes. Add pickles (if necessary). Toss well, cover and refrigerate for 1hour 1/2 to 2 hours allowing the flavors to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped chives. This salad can be served warm or chilled.

Serves 6 to 8

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