Here’s a disclaimer–my Mom makes the most delicious traditional potato salad…just the right mount of mayo, potatoes boiled to perfection, the right spices, large pieces of onion for those that don’t care for them(she says they can just pick them out), hard boiled eggs on the top, and lots of love. When I think of potato salad, that’s what comes to my mind.
However, when I saw a contest listed on my favorite cooking contest websites (www.cookingcontestcentral.com and www.contestcook.com) asking for creative “out of the box” potato salad recipes, sponsored by Reser’s Fine Foods, I remembered something I had made a few years ago, scribbled down on a piece of paper and filed away both in my brain and in the GIANT pile of recipes I have stacked near my desk. And I use the word “stacked” loosely…
When I have an idea, I often do a rough version first and always write it down. Often, I don’t give the recipe away (even if someone asks for it), or publish it anywhere, just in case there is a contest out there that it might fit and that’s what happened here. My hand written version was rough, I didn’t write down how much of anything, just the idea and basic ingredients and this is what it came out to after much tweaking:
You should have seen me, laying on my side lawn like some kind of doofus, taking close up pictures of potato salad but for those of you who know me, that should not come as much of a surprise.
All-American Caprese Grilled Potato Salad
2 pounds red, white and blue (purple) baby or fingerling potatoes, washed and dried
10 cups cold water
4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, julienned (not oil packed)
2 cups seeded and diced fresh Roma tomatoes
1 cup – 1/2” diced fresh mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice clean potatoes in to 1/3” slices on the diagonal, ensuring that potatoes are large enough not to slip through grill grates.
In a large pot or Dutch oven add water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add sliced potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil potatoes until partially cooked through and nearly fork tender. Drain and immediately rinse potatoes in cold water to stop the cooking process. Allow to drain thoroughly, patting potatoes dry with a towel if necessary.
Pour potatoes in to a large bowl and gently toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning and one teaspoon kosher salt.
Preheat outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to high. Reduce heat to medium and grill seasoned potatoes until cooked all the way through, tender and marked by the grill, turning once. Remove from grill and allow to cool to room temperature. Potatoes will cool quickly if spread out on a sheet pan after grilling.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine sun dried tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil and remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Gently add grilled potatoes to the bowl and toss to combine. Add basil and re-season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Well, my potato salad was chosen as a finalist in the contest, Reser’s America’s Best Potato Salad Challenge and I am thrilled. The judging process was rigorous! There were 606 entries, they were narrowed down to 30, each dish prepared by chefs and then a judging panel rated them on taste, creativity and appearance.
Here’s what you can do for me. In exchange for my nifty recipe above. Would you go to this link: http://www.resers.com/special-offers/campaigns and vote for my recipe please? The top five finalists, based on the qualifications above, coupled with the amount of votes, get to go to a cook off in Las Vegas and compete. Having never been to Vegas, I would LOVE to go and cook this salad for the judges. It is a facebook only contest so if you are not on FB, you have to sit this one out. Voting is daily through the end of August and then we wait until September 17th for the cook off contestants to be announced! Thank you to all of you for your support–I really appreciate it!