Easy Side Dishes for Summer | Food & Wine

So, fish and potato salad, is probably something I wouldn’t put together…if I were going to cook it myself. I rarely find the will to cook at all — but this is lifelong exercise — and so it’s unlikely I ever will put together a full meal from the kitchen and if I do, everything but one thing will be pre-prepared and thaw-able or microwaveable.

For this exercise of fish and potato salad, I prefer to opt in on the potato salad. My usual explanation is rather long, so I will try to execute the short version. Using a 5 pound bag of Idaho Yukon Yellow Large Potatoes, take a handful enough to fill an 8 quart spaghetti boiling pot. Fill the pot up with 2/3 water and let it come to a short, rolling boil. After washing up the potatoes in tepid sink water, drop them into the pot — this may ruin your spaghetti pot, of course, I’m rather savage about my cooking habits, so use a large stock pot you can spare — and let the potatoes boil on a slow rolling boil until you can put a fork through them and not have raw potato anywhere. Don’t worry too much about fork marks, but don’t let the fork marks ruin all your potato meat.

Remove the potatoes from your pot by putting a colander over the sink, maybe with a plate underneath or however you do it and throwing the very hot and steamy, dangerous pot water over into the very large colander. Drop the hot pot in your hand, putting it aside on a free burner to cool. And quickly salvage the sink colander from being invaded by more boiling waters in the sink. Remove the colander onto a prepared space on a counter and let the potatoes cool until you can handle them.

When they are luke warm enough to even touch, begin to peel them. This is an unpleasant task — I have no suggestions, besides being very careful and patient using a regular paring knife and holding the potato down on a plate, turning it around with one hand while peeling with another. Be careful not to burn yourself — it’s a stinking hot, thankless, dangerous job. Don’t let your pets or children near the work.

When your potatoes are peeled, use the pairing knife to cut them up into cubes. (You could try to peel and cube the potatoes first and boil them, of course, that would make some better sense, however, they often fall apart that way. Nevertheless, should your talent find you lucky, do it that way — saves both time and mess! Another option to stove top boiling is a large steamer; but in this case, you still want to exercise caution in removing the potatoes from the steamer and carefully cleaning up the starchy mess when all the appliances and utensils have cooled, removing your potatoes onto a plate when they have become even slightly cool from the steam. Do not put your hands in the steam! It could be a fatal burn…. this is why I do not like to give recipe advice!)

Place the cubes into the bowl where you are going to add your condiment mix. And then make sure to clean up all the mess you just left behind, being careful about your drain, knowing that, often, potato peels and potato chunks are hostile to some drains. Throw out the debris onto paper towels and in the garbage and throw out all the waters remaining if any and put all your boiling tools in your cleaning sink.

Now prepare your condiment mix. I am very bad in suggesting measurements, so I will give you the ingredients first. In another ceramic bowl, because other kinds of bowls will be too sticky to work with, combine ordinary mayonnaise with chopped hard-boiled eggs, chopped white onions, a blinking amount of paprika and (if you prefer garlic, add also, garlic powder and/or also onion powder, if you relish the garlic and onion potato salad flavor, or else, forget those two additions). Don’t add salt. The mild taste of the onion and paprika will be explosively salty. You CAN if you’re daring and like mustard, add a very small amount of yellow mustard into the mayonnaise — it gives the overall mix some more zing.

Now many people like to add celery, red peppers, tomatoes, radishes — all chopped, and also cilantro, dill, oregano, parsley to this very basic dish (maybe not all at once) — I would not prefer to change it from what it is, because I have never had success with adding more or taking out for less, except for removing the chopped onions and definitely mixing paprika, garlic and onion powders and a skosh of yellow mustard. For a very great zing addition, to all this, add some chili powder. You can also top with parsley, but it’s not necessary.

Mix all the condiments together and then when the potato cubes are cooled to room temperature, take a large un-slatted spaghetti serving spoon and begin to gently mix it over and into the ceramic potato bowl, making sure that every potato is coated. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and put it in the fridge for however long it takes to congeal to a regular salad quality, or leave it in until you’re ready to eat it. (It doesn’t do too well warm.)

Grilled Baby Potato Salad

Easy Side Dishes for Summer | Food & Wine