A few weeks ago, while I was in Miami, my friend Marvin’s parents graciously took in a bunch of his friends for a lovely home-cooked, post-church lunch. His mother, ever the consummate hostess, put out a huge spread that included an insanely delicious ham, the leftovers of which she packed up for me to take back to New York. (I ate it cold on the plane for breakfast and warm at my desk for lunch.) It was a truly fantastic meal, made only better by the warm hospitality his family extended to us all. But my favorite thing at the table might have been the most simple — the potato salad.
After church, as we all sat around watching old episodes of the Good Wife, I watched his mother make a potato salad that was simultaneously creamy and textured. When she called me over to taste for seasoning and I took a bite, I was struck by the fact that the salad was still warm. Usually when I make potato salad I let my potatoes cool completely and then mix in the ingredients. It leaves me with a pretty good salad, but one that feels a bit disjointed. Because she mixed everything together when the potatoes where still very warm, the starch broke apart during the mixing process and it created a luscious mixture that still had the texture of potato salad but the mouth-feel of perfect mashed potatoes
I decided to try my hand at using a similar technique and incorporated peppadews for some color, texture and acidic flavor to cut the creaminess of the potatoes. Peppadews are the bright red, tomato-shaped peppers you might see at your grocery store’s olive bar. Originally from South Africa, these small, round peppers are de-seeded, de-stemmed and then pickled. As a result, they are (mostly) mild, crispy and have a great acidic tang.
- 6 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces
- 4 eggs (optional)
- 1 cup of peppadews, chopped
- ¾ cup of green onion, green parts only, chopped
- ½ cup of mayonnaise
- ¼ cup of sour cream
- 1 tablespoon of mustard
- 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parsley for garnish
- Place the eggs into a small saucepan and cover with about 1 inch of water. Place the pot on the stove over medium high heat and bring the water to a boil. When the water is at a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs and place them in cold water to cool. When eggs are cool, peel and chop them. Set aside
- Place the peeled and diced potatoes into a large pot and cover with about 1 inch of water. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the pot on the stove over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Right after the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the potatoes to simmer for about 20 minutes until they are fork tender and some pieces are breaking apart.
- While the potatoes are cooking, in a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, paprika and vinegar.
- When the potatoes are ready, drain them and place them into a large bowl (or back into the pot they were cooked in.) Let them sit for about 3 minutes. While they are still warm, thoroughly mix in the peppadews, green peppers and the mayonnaise mixtures. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Garnish with parsley and serve*
- Ideally, allow the salad to sit for at least 1 hour before serving. If you refrigerate it, bring it back to room temperature before serving.