Monday, June 13, 2011

Potato Salad The Daring (but Healthy) Way


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!

So who can resist a challenge like that? Jami, in true Daring cooks fashion, gave a few potato salad recipes to try. We, in our standard Monkeyshines fashion, ignored them completely (sorry Jami! It’s not you it’s us. Really)

As you probably guessed from the image above, we went for two different salads. First, a refreshing Herbed Potato Salad made with steamed red potatoes and then a more hearty Grilled Potato and Sausage Salad. Both are really quite healthy, yet despite that, tasty.

Herbed Potato Saladpotato_salad 009

You can use any sort of potato in this one, though small red bliss potatoes are our favorite as they are attractive and absorb the salsa verde dressing very well. Steam the potatoes to best retain their color.


1 pound potatoes

Salsa Verde:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp capers
2-3 sweet pickles
1/2 tsp anchovy paste
2 cups of assorted herbs: Parsley, Basil, Cilantro, Sage, Dill, Oregano, Mint, Thyme. We usually use 3-4 different herbs and vary the proportion based on what’s fresh and on hand.
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Steam or boil the potatoes until soft. As noted above, if you’re using red potatoes, then we recommend steaming. Otherwise, boiling is fine.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the salsa verde:
  3. Chop the garlic, capers, pickle, and herbs finely – or whiz them in a food processor. potato_salad 001
  4. Put this mix in a bowl then stir in the mustard and vinegar. Again, this can be done in a food processor if you want.
  5. Slowly stir in the olive oil until you achieve a smooth consistency – you should have a nice, thick sauce. You can do this in a processor, but be careful not to turn it into a mayonnaise!
  6. Season with S&P, taste and adjust as you see fit.
  7. Drain the potatoes, and turn out into a separate bowl. Stir in about 1/2 cup of the salsa verde or until it looks/tastes right.

You’ll probably have leftover salsa verde. Serve the rest on grilled bread, pork chops, pasta,  chicken, more potato salad – the sky’s the limit.

Grilled Potato and Sausage Salad

potato_salad 014

We pretty much made up this salad on the fly – we knew we wanted to grill the potatoes, then decided that the salad should serve as a main course lunch. It was delicious and when we make it again, we’ll certainly vary it with whatever produce looks good at the market at the moment.


1 pound small potatoes: fingerling, yukon gold or red bliss
2 small (or 1 normal) red, yellow or orange bell peppers
1/2 pound chicken sausage
olive oil

for the vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

3-4 basil leaves


  1. Get your grill going so the coals are hot.
  2. Place the potatoes in a bowl or microwaveable steamer, them cook in the microwave for 3 minutes to just lightly cook them
  3. Remove the potatoes from the microwave and toss lightly with olive oil.
  4. Place the potatoes, peppers and sausage on the grill and cook thoroughly.
  5. Remove the items from the grill and rest on a board while you prepare the vinaigrette:
  6. Mix vinegar and mustard with S&P, whisk in the olive oil slowly until you reach the desired consistency.
  7. Slice the potatoes and sausages into 3/8” thick slices. Slice the peppers into strips, discarding the stems and seeds.
  8. Toss everything together, dressing the salad to taste.
  9. Top with a chiffonade of basil.

potato_salad 023

Many thanks to Jami for hosting this challenge. She doesn’t blog, so we constantly regret not being able to post our comments at the wonderful creations she submits to the daring cooks every month. As you may or may not know, the Daring Cooks is an international club. Take a look at how people across the globe interpreted potato salad this month!