Turkey, ham and pavlova might get all the acclaim but it’s the workhorse of the festive meal, the humble potato salad, that we couldn’t get through the holidays without
WHO doesn’t love a spud? And at this time of year, as we swelter in the heat while singing about snowmen and chestnuts roasting over an open fire, a spud in a salad is a wondrous thing. In fact, should the festive meal start to look too wintry, potato salad can save the day.
But boring boiled potatoes in mayo won’t save anything. Instead, take a trip with me around the world to add a bit of zing to the humblest of dishes.
FRENCH POTATO SALAD
With smoked trout and hard-boiled eggs (pictured) Halve 1kg kipfler potatoes lengthwise and boil these waxy beauties until they are just cooked. Drain and leave to cool in your serving bowl. Top with quartered hard-boiled eggs, 500g of flaked smoked trout (free of bones, natch!) and a fine dice of a blanched red onion. Dollop on the dressing and garnish with dill. Dressing: cut the tops off a bunch of dill and reserve to garnish. Chop up the rest and stir generously into creme fraiche that’s been loosened to a dolloping consistency with lemon juice and spiked with a little Dijon mustard and salt. Serve with: a garlicky vinaigrettedressed butter lettuce salad and nothing else. This potato salad is a meal in itself.
AUSSIE POTATO SALAD
With bacon and eggs It doesn’t matter whether they’re on a pizza or for breakfast, there are few things more Aussie than bacon and eggs. Cut mid-range (neither waxy nor floury) potatoes into equal-sized chunks. Bring to the boil and then simmer until they slip off a knife. Drain and toss in your favourite mayo. Top with halved hard-boiled eggs, coins of spring onion and loads of bacon shards. You can add some frozen corn that you’ve fried until golden at the edges too. Dressing: any good supermaket mayo. Serve with: a barbecue, naturally!
GERMAN POTATO SALAD
With gherkins and a tangy yoghurt dressing Boil Nicola or Desiree potatoes with their skins on until just cooked. Drain and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Peel off the skins and cut into chunks. Throw over loads of chopped gherkins and toss in the dressing. Dressing: combine slightly more Greek yoghurt than mayonnaise. Add a little caster sugar, not to sweeten but to soften the acidity. Serve with: poached Polish “U” sausage and mustard.
ENGLISH POTATO SALAD
With mint and a whipped cream mayo Watch any English period drama and you soon learn that no garden party is complete without croquet, rain and the earl’s daughter snogging the hot chauffeur in the rose arbour. Oh, and potato salad to serve with whole salmon.
Poach or steam waxy baby potatoes. When cooked throw them back into the warm pot and let them steam themselves dry. Fold with the dressing and sprinkle over lots of chopped mint. Dressing: mix sour cream with lemon juice to loosen. Add a couple of teaspoons of dried mint, salt and cumin to taste. Fold into softly whipped cream. Serve with: roast lamb or barbecued fish.
Lactose-intolerant Paleo Potato Salad that’s also sugar-free and gluten-free Also known as the Californian, this potato salad is made by soaking warm, cooked, bite-sized pieces of Dutch cream potatoes and a fine dice of brown onion in hot stock that you’ve reduced by half. Dress with the vinaigrette and chopped curly parsley. Dressing: a vinaigrette – three parts cider vinegar, four parts salad oil. Serve with: steak, pork, lamb or chicken and a halo of self-satisfaction.