Ah, summer salads. In a climate where most produce is brought in from elsewhere (even if only other parts of Canada), the fresh, local summer salad is a greatly anticipated and appreciated sign of the season around here.
Too often, though, and perhaps in a fit of over-exuberance at this annual treat, salads are thrown together without consideration for the basics of food preparation: Do these things actually taste good together? Are their textures complementary or in competition? Am I putting these things in the same bowl because they happen to come ripe at the same time? Would I taste anything different if I were to instead just down couple of shots of this dressing?
The kinds of salads I like most are ones where you can actually enjoy the ingredients.* For the most part, that means one with few ingredients, lightly dressed with a very deliberate choice of dressing and with some sort of interesting texture element. I feel Andrew nailed each of these criteria with this latest recipe: Potato Salad with Miso Dressing.
This past Saturday, I happily presented Andrew with a few early-season vegetables from my local farmers’ market, including some adorable small, red potatoes. I find that most people who say they love to eat potatoes actually just love butter and sour cream** but I happen to enjoy the taste of potatoes themselves. So, when Andrew said he was going to make a potato salad, I was delighted when he came up with the following recipe:
Potato Salad with Miso Dressing
- 2 lbs young, red-skinned potatoes (halved)
- 2 1/2 tbsp white miso
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or palm sugar)
- 1 tbsp sake (or sherry)
- 1/4/ – 1/2 tsp chili sambal oelek (or other hot sauce)
- sprinkle of chives
- 1 heaping tbsp sesame seeds (toasted)
Step one: Wash the potatoes well but be careful to leave on the pretty, red, fibre-rich skins.
Step two: Steam potatoes until fork-tender.
Step three: Whisk next six ingredients together to make the dressing.
Step four: While the potatoes are still warm, toss them gently (to preserve the skins as much as possible) with the dressing. Top with chives and sesame seeds and serve immediately while still warm.***
This salad featured the creaminess of the potatoes themselves rather than the creaminess of mayonnaise and made for a lovely lunch treat and a great start to summer delights. I can’t wait until my market trip next week!
* While I love vegetable-focused salads, I do also love salad dressing. I simply happen to like dressing on non-salad items. For example, I have always loved Thousand Island dressing as a dipping sauce for baked ham—another item for my list of odd, guilty food pleasures.
** Worthy objects of affection, no doubt.
*** We found that while still tasty after a few days, the salad had a warm coziness to it when first prepared that disappeared in the chilled leftovers. Also, the saltiness of the miso drew additional water out of the potatoes, which made the dressing a little watery after the first day in the fridge.