My Grandpa Smith is a jack-of-all-trades sort of guy. A general contractor by profession, he’s been building houses for years and years and knows his way around pretty much any tool or project that Bob Vila could throw at him. When I was 10 years old, he built an amazing set of furniture for my American Girl dolls, complete with a bed, trunk and closet. And about a year and a half ago, he showed my mom and me how to finish off my parents’ basement (yes, I’ve developed some mad muddin’-and-tapin’ skills). But in recent years, Grandpa’s Mr.-Fix-It abilities have made way for an untapped source of culinary genius. And amidst all the pies he makes from scratch and the meats he rotisseries to perfection, the man makes a mean potato salad.
Grandpa’s potato salad has become a welcome-to-summer kind of food and Jared’s annual request for his birthday dinner (don’t worry, he gets more to eat than potato salad). I tend to think it’s the low-mayo-to-high-potato ratio and the bunches of black olives and onions that make it so amazing; Jared would probably credit the thick-cut bacon as the secret ingredient. Either way, it’s good stuff.
So yes, potato salad is typically May-to September food, but I love the idea of putting a winter spin on a summertime classic. This recipe, from MySocialChef on food52.com, does just the trick. With roasted potatoes and plenty of garlic rounded out by a kick of Dijon and lemon juice, the dish is comforting and refreshing at the same time.
Spanish Roasted Potato Salad
Adapted from MySocialChef, food52.com
• 1 pound small red or white potatoes (I prefer red, but either would work.)
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
• 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 4 tablespoons mayonnaise (I found an all-canola-oil mayo at Hy-Vee. Woo hoo for mayonnaise without soybean oil!)
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes in half or quarters, and place in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper, and mix until potatoes are covered. Arrange potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer, and bake for about 40 minutes, flipping twice during baking (allow potatoes to turn a pretty golden brown).
Allow potatoes to cool. Sauté garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until golden, about 3 minutes, then let garlic and olive oil cool in a small bowl (Note: This is a change to the original recipe, which calls for adding the minced garlic to the final dressing raw, without sautéing it. I love garlic, but without a bit of heat on the stove, it would have been a bit too much kapow for me.) In a bowl, combine ½ teaspoon salt, the tablespoon of olive oil and sautéed garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Mix, and pour over the cooled potatoes.
This potato salad has a great fresh flavor, and I wouldn’t change the proportions of dressing ingredients a bit. Jared and I found it to be a little over saucy, though, and I didn’t even use all the dressing the recipe made. Next time I’ll probably double the potatoes but keep the dressing ingredients as is (more potato salad is always a good thing, right?). But you could certainly adjust the potato amount to suit your dressing-saturation preferences.
Do you have a favorite summertime dish that you carry into other seasons? Any fun food plans for a weekend Super Bowl party? I’d love to hear about it!