Summertime and potato salad go together like hamburgers and buns. How many picnics, BBQ's and big family gathering tables don this starchy delight during the season? It's the 'go-to' hearty salad that everyone expects. Yet, serving mayo in the hot sun might not be the wisest choice. Hell, it might be down right dangerous.
I'm all about giving guests food they love, but I'm also hooked on introducing new dishes or serving old favorites with a twist.
Best approach. Use what's in season to make your statement. You know what's in glorious abundance now? Basil. Oh, that smell. That floral, herbal bouquet that makes you want to actually BE a green leaf. (I had an distant uncle who loved basil so much he used to roll it up and shove it up his nose. As a kid, this grossed me out big time, but somehow now I'm feeling that nasal basil vibe. Funny how time and perspective can change.)
Uses for basil = a Zillion. That is an understatement. Try infinite. Given how many ways you can use it I even thought I would write a post entitled 3 ways to basil up your meal. But settled on the laser focus of revamping potato salad instead.
I have been making a version of potato salad like this for a while, and even more so now since JC and I don't eat eggs, thus no mayo. But here are a few motives for you.
It tastes frigging AWESOME.
Without the mayo, it's less calories and as a bonus won't spoil in the sun.
It's super easy with just a few ingredients.
(Seriously, I don't know why I count the reasons down since I could continue on and on. But three should be enough to convince you.)
I would say that basil is the star in this show with potatoes and garlic nudging their way to leading role status. I'm not going to yammer on too much longer since we need to just get right to making this jacked up flavor bomb for potatoes. The smell is going to knock you over.
8 c Potatoes (any style/ I like using new or fingerlings)
2 c Basil
3-4 Garlic cloves. medium
1 t course Sea Salt
1/4 t Whole Peppercorns
1/2 c Olive Oil
Cut the potatoes in bite sized pieces. Boil or roast them.
While those are cooking away, prepare the dressing. I like using a mortar and pestle for small batches but using a mini blender, processor is best for bigger batches as well as gives you a nice consistency.
For the mortar and pestle: Crush the garlic using coarse sea salt to break it down. Add the peppercorns. Add a handful of the fragrant basil leaves and crush them to make a paste. Then pour in the oil and stir together.
For the mini blender: Smash the garlic first then add all the ingredients minus the oil. For this method, use crushed black pepper intead of whole peppercorns. Pulse until minced. Then add the oil to blend.
A very important note that I often times do not write. Taste as you go. Although I give ingredient amounts, the basil and garlic you are using may be more or less intense than mine. And when using so few and such fresh ingredients it's all about the flavor. It might need a little more salt or garlic. Taste, taste, taste. Once you love it, then pour the mixture over the 'taters while they are still warm. The warmth helps the flavor absorb into the them. Stand back and let the aroma waft over you.
I once made this dish last minute when friends stopped over. They were so blown away by the intense bouquet of basil and garlic that they could not believe how simple it was and how few ingredients it had. Use this over anything really. Here I go again with a list that could go on, but this is a start.
Grilled Chicken or Meat
Grilled or Roasted Fish
Roasted Cauliflower, Zucchini or any vegetable
Well, you get the picture. No cook, no fuss Basil Blasted Sauce. Use it on everything. Just a warning, because of the raw garlic, brushing your teeth afterwards is a good idea!
Geez, did I forget to add heirloom tomatoes to the list... Happy Summer (without spoiled mayo!)