Mix & Munch Potato salad: Tasty additions turn traditional side dish into a summer sizzler that has endless appeal.

June 12, 1996|By Judith Blake | Judith Blake,SEATTLE TIMES

Spud-salad season is full upon us. No summer festivity seems complete without this perennial favorite.

You can make it the way you've always made it -- which is probably the same way your mother did -- and get nary a complaint, because family tradition is part of potato salad's pull.

But if you'd like to tweak your taste buds -- and tradition -- just a bit, consider some variations. A few changes can give potato salad an updated image. And they're easy. Examples:

* Potato salad with smoked turkey and artichoke hearts.

* Greek roasted potato salad, featuring such special ingredients as feta cheese, garlic and plum tomatoes.

* Tuna and potato salad with sweet peppers and peas.

* Black bean and potato salad with smoked salmon and dill.

But you don't need a recipe to transform potato salad from traditional to unusual. Just try adding one or more of these flavor hits:

* Cubes of cooked smoked turkey or cooked chicken.

* Cooked crab or shrimp meat.

* Sliced summer sausage.

* Finely diced Gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese.

* Bits of smoked salmon.

* Marinated artichoke hearts.

* Diced or slivered

red or yellow bell peppers.

* Slivered plum tomatoes.

* Blanched sugar snap peas.

* Sliced shiitake mushrooms.

* Diced Walla Walla onions.

* Sliced cooked asparagus.

* Diced sun-dried tomatoes.

* Finely minced fresh herbs, such as dill, basil, thyme, rosemary or sage.

* Capers.

* Pimento-stuffed green olives or pitted Kalamata olives.

* Toasted and chopped hazelnuts.

* Golden raisins.

* Mashed roasted garlic whisked into the dressing.

* Hickory-smoked barbecue sauce whisked into the dressing.

* Pesto sauce whisked into the dressing.

* Roasted garlic oil.

* A splash of white wine or vermouth on the warm, cooked potatoes.

Potato salad should not sit unrefrigerated longer than two hours, particularly during warm weather or when the ingredients include perishable items such as eggs, seafood or meat.

Potato salad with smoked turkey and artichoke hearts

Makes 8 servings

2 pounds Yukon gold or small red new potatoes, scrubbed

2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

2/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

2 cups diced smoked turkey or chicken

2 (14-ounce) jars artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 (2-ounce) jar pimento-stuffed green olives, drained and chopped

1 large rib celery, diced

Place the potatoes in a steamer basket, set over boiling water, cover and steam 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Cool, peel and slice the potatoes; place in a large bowl.

Drop the garlic into a food processor and chop finely. Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne and paprika. Process to blend. Slowly add the olive oil, processing until the dressing is emulsified.

Combine the potatoes with the parsley, cilantro, smoked turkey, artichoke hearts, green olives and celery. Mix with the dressing and refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: For a vegetarian salad, omit the smoked turkey.

Per serving: 384 calories, 16 g protein, 22 g fat, 35 g carbohydrates 873 mg sodium, 3 g saturated fat, 15 g monounsaturated fat, 2 g polyunsaturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol

Greek roasted potato salad

Makes 8 servings

6 medium white potatoes (about 3 pounds), scrubbed

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided

1/4 cup water

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 medium plum tomatoes, cut into small cubes

4 thin green onions, finely chopped

1 small cucumber (about 1/2 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cut the potatoes into approximately 3/4 -inch cubes. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes with 1/2 cup lemon juice, water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish and bake in a preheated 400-degree oven 35-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir gently twice during the cooking time. Cool.

Combine the cooled potatoes with the tomatoes, green onions and cucumber.

Whisk together the mustard, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 4 tablespoons olive oil. Gently stir into the salad.

Add the parsley and feta. Serve the salad at room temperature.

Per serving: 203 calories, 4 g protein, 11 g fat, 26 g carbohydrates, 256 mg sodium, 2 g saturated fat, 7 g monounsaturated fat,1 g polyunsaturated fat, 6 g cholesterol

Tuna and potato salad with sweet peppers and peas

Makes 8 servings

2 1/2 pounds medium red-skinned potatoes

1/4 pound sugar snap peas

2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled

1 tablespoon grainy mustard

4 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 (6-ounce) can water-packed tuna, drained and flaked

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