Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!
Now, who knew all that about the potato?? I must say that this was an excellent topic for my first Daring Cook challenge, since I love the idea of potato salad, but am very picky about what goes into it. I chose to make Cajun Potato Salad; the recipe was a printout from a long-forgotten website that I modified to my taste. As a southerner, the potato salad I am most familiar with is the mayo-heavy version found in the deli sections of countless supermarkets across our fair nation. Most people here in the south stay fairly close to that classic recipe with the occasional addition of pickle relish or bacon. I don’t care for pickles in my potato salad at all, and while I actually like the taste of the classic version, it’s so heavy that I find that I can only take a few bites before being overwhelmed by it. My version is very light, with no mayo at all, and the addition of andouille sausage really adds a smoky-spicy note that I just love.
You start out by sautéing the sausage in a little olive oil just until they start to get all brown and crispy. I boiled the water for my potatoes while the sausage was cooking, and then when the potatoes were boiling (just until tender! Not too long or they’ll get all mushy) I diced my vegetables. Now my recipe called for a green bell pepper, celery, and green onions, but I only had a very small green bell (and from my own garden no less! I’m really excited about that, by the way.) so I added a cubanelle pepper(also from my garden!). Also, I had no green onions, so I just used the half of a vidalia that was in my fridge. On the subject of the veggies – I actually sauteed them in the oil that was left over from cooking my sausage. I’m not even sure I’d call it sautéing – I really just threw them in for a minute to soften up and soak up some more of the sausage flavor. I really liked the texture I got – not super crunchy, but enough to let you know you’re eating something fresh.
After my potatoes were done, I drained them and let them sit for a minute to cool off. While they were sitting I whisked together the mustard, vinegar (I actually used white balsamic, which I really liked in this – it was just tangy enough and not too sweet) and hot pepper sauce. I added my potatoes to this, and tossed them around to coat. Then I added the veggies drizzled the whole mess with some EVOO. I actually used a little less oil than called for, since I had just soaked my veggies in it, and I didn’t want to overdo it. The amount of mustard called for was right on for me. It added a little kick to the dish, and helped tie everything together.
I have to say that the end result was delicious. By far my favorite potato salad to date, and my future go-to recipe. I think it would be incredible easy to modify, both the ingredients and the heat level, to your own tastes, and it wasn’t that hard to make either. Simple and delicious – my favorite.
Cajun Potato Salad:
3 lbs red potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 tbsp, plus 1/4 cup olive oil
8 ounces andouille sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp hot pepper sauce
1 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup sliced green onions
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and saute until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Bring large pot of salted water to a boil and add potatoes. Cook just until tender, stirring occasionally , about 8-9 minutes. Drain well.
Whisk together vinegar, pepper sauce, and mustard in large bowl. Transfer warm potatoes to bowl and toss to coat. Gently mix in sausage, bell pepper, celery, onions, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve warm or at room temperature.