Monday, April 8, 2013

Potato Salad with Peppers and Olives

Three Cheers for Potatoes

Potatoes belong to the nightshade family whose members are both loved and loathed, depending on which dietary advice you follow.  Potato relatives include tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers and chilies, which all contain alkaloids which have been reported to aggravate symptoms of arthritis, gout or inflammation, says Deborah Madison in her new book Vegetable Literacy.  Potatoes have also been reported to interfere with the absorption of calcium. But if having a potoat once in awhile is a guilty pleasure, why not go ahead and enjoy them on a splurge day.

The words potato salad trigger memories of picnics and potlucks, of sunshine and the beach.  But the potato salad of my younger years was laden with mayonnaise, and lacked the color and flavor I crave today. Now, I'm more interested in cutting excess calories from dishes.  Always experimenting, I create lost variations of potato salad. And when people ask me what potatoes I use, I often mention Olsen Farms at the U-District Farmers Market.  You can use red, purple, or white potatoes for this salad.

If you've got it, add it

If you've got parsley growing like wild, add that to the salad too. It's one of the most nutritious vegetables you can use. It's worth it to stash an extra bunch in your grocery or market basket and add finely chopped parsley to side dishes and casseroles.  It's excellent in green smoothies, too. I use it so often now, think I'm going to grow a whole patch this year.

And consider that warm colors improve the eye appeal.  Think carrots, red kidney beans or red or yellow peppers.  

If you want to use local foods year-round, remember to dice and freeze local peppers at the end of summer. I don't even bother to blanch them.  Also, if you buy peppers from the grocery store, remember to choose organic because peppers are one of the dirty dozen, with about 50 pesticides detected in post-harvest peppers.  During summer, grow your own peppers or ask a local farmer how he farms before purchasing.

Peppers aren't in season in the Northwest right no, but these are a few pretty specimens from the Bellingham farmers' market during late summer.  

Finally, I always have plenty apple cider vinegar from Rockridge Orchards.  I love the flavored varieties with dark cherries, raspberries and blueberries.  Use raspberry or even balsamic if you want. 

Wade Bennett of Rockridge Orchards

Potato Salad with Peppers, Corn and Olives
(Serves 4 to 6)

2 cups red or white potatoes, cut into small bite-size pieces
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons nayonaise or garlic aioli
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup diced red pepper (or use frozen chopped peppers or peppers from a jar)
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup frozen corn or drained canned corn (use fresh in season)
1 cup finely chopped curly parsley
1/2 cup chopped olives (use your favorite)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Steam the potatoes until they are fork tender--5 to 7 minutes.  Do not over cook.  Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside. 

2. Blend apple cider vinegar, nayonaise, olive oil and mustard together.  Combine the potatoes, dressing, red pepper, celery, corn and parsley.  Mix in olives and add freshly ground pepper to taste. 

My Cooking Assistant sometimes can't resist sneaking a taste.

1 comment:

Miz Helen said...

Hi Debra,
I just got back in the house a bit ago, Max decided he wanted to chase a cow in the neighbor's pasture. I sure got my workout today. Your salad would be awesome as I have sure worked up an appetite. Thank you very much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week!
Come Back Soon,
Miz Helen