Let me preface this post with the confession that I’ve never really loved potato salad. When I see it at summer barbecues, beach parties, or cafeterias, I avoid it like nothing else. There’s something about lumpy potatoes smothered in gloppy mayonnaise that just doesn’t appeal to me, which is why I’ve been avoiding making this dish for so long, despite the fact that it is so commonly found in anime…
But, after seeing it so often in such anime as Mirai Nikki, Noragami, Kill la Kill, and Psycho-Pass (among others), I decided to make it…. and, guess what? It was actually very tasty and surprisingly addictive! This version of potato salad contains plenty of vegetables, including corn, peas, and carrots. Thinly sliced cucumber provides a nice crunch, which compliments the smooth and creamy potatoes. Add sliced ham, bacon, or hard boiled eggs to the mix, and you have yourself a filling side dish!
About the recipe:
Boiling potatoes and other vegetables (all in the same pot!) is pretty much the extent of the “cooking” involved in this recipe… The rest is mostly just mixing! Easy, yummy, and strangely addictive, potato salad makes for a great side dish, whether paired with your dinner, tucked into a corner of a bento, taken on a picnic, or even slapped between two slices of bread (yes, the potato salad sandwich is a real food).
It’s also very customizable, so if you don’t like something (barring the potatoes and mayonnaise), you don’t have to add it! (Conversely, if you really like a certain ingredient, you can add more of it too!)
The main thing to know about making potato salad is that you want to minimize the amount of water or liquid added to the dish, so as to ensure it is fluffy and not wet. For this reason, the potatoes are cooked for a short while on the stovetop after being drained from their boiling water. It’s a small step that helps evaporate any water not drained. Just make sure to shake the pot and give the potatoes a toss so they don’t brown. Salting the sliced cucumbers will draw out some of the water inside, also helping to make your potato salad less wet.
The smoothness of the potato salad is also up to you. I like with some small chunks of potato still in it, rather than super smooth, so I generally just semi mash it up while mixing in the other ingredients. If you want your potatoes much smoother, you may want to cook the vegetables separately from the potatoes so you can mash you potatoes.
About the ingredients:
Japanese mayonnaise is a key ingredient in potato salad, adding creaminess and helping to hold all the ingredients together. Japanese mayonnaise tastes a bit different than Western mayonnaise, being more tangy and less thick. It comes in a convenient squeeze bottle, and I generally use the popular brand, Kewpie, which is found in almost all Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find Japanese mayonnaise, use regular mayonnaise instead.
Makes 4 small servings
- 1 lb potatoes (~ 2 medium potatoes), peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1/2 carrot, quartered lengthwise and sliced thin
- 1/4 cup corn
- 1/4 cup peas
- 4 inches cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin
- 3 – 4 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise (or to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 – 6 slices of deli ham, cut into 1 inch strips
- 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/8 – 1/4 small onion, thinly sliced
- 4 – 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1. Place potatoes in a pot of water set over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally and gently. Add carrots, peas, and corn, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through and a skewer is easily inserted, about 10 – 15 minutes.
Drain potatoes and vegetables from the boiling water, and place back into the now empty pot. Heat over medium and continue cooking to evaporate any leftover moisture. Shake the pot and gently toss the potatoes with a spatula to release the moisture and prevent the potatoes from browning. Cook until the potatoes develop a fluffy white coating and the amount of steam produced diminishes, about 3 – 5 minutes.
Remove potatoes and vegetables from the pot and place in a bowl. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.
2. While the potatoes are cooling, place sliced cucumber in a bowl. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt, using your fingers to rub the salt into the slices thoroughly. Let sit for 10 – 15 minutes. Squeeze the liquid from the cucumbers and pat dry.
(If adding onion, remove the harsh onion taste by using your fingers to rub a pinch of salt into the slices. Let sit for a few minutes and rinse in cold water to remove the salt. Pat dry.)
3. When the potatoes are cooled to room temperature, add the drained cucumbers, 2 tbsp of mayonnaise, and any optional ingredients. Season liberally with salt and pepper to taste. Mix together until thoroughly combined, breaking up the potatoes and mashing them with a spoon or spatula until it reaches your desired smoothness. Add more mayonnaise, 1 tbsp at a time until it suits your tastes.
Serve at room temperature as a side dish with your meal, in a bento, or between two slices of bread as a sandwich.
Source: Blue Variance