Tuesday, May 24, 2011

0 Recipe #267: Fennel-Potato Salad

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Yes, it was time to use up the rest of fennel from the last recipe. ;)
Instead of eating those fattening potato salads bathed in thick, congealed globs of mayonnaise, try this recipe for a lighter, healthier, and very tasty alternative. Even those of you who wouldn't normally like potato salad might even like this version. :-D

Incidentally, this recipe has only a very small amount of dairy in it, and at that, it's Greek yoghurt, which apparently doesn't seem to bother lactose-intolerant individuals as much or even at all, primarily because it contains a lot less lactose than regular yoghurt &/or many other milk-based products. Also, here's also no actual mayo in this dish, so that should make my mom very happy as well. ;) (We didn't grow up eating mayo.)

Another cool twist is that fennel is used instead of celery, for a crisper and much more refreshing taste. After all, fennel and potatoes go together like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. :)

So, get ready for some fennel-potato salad to waltz off your plate and then gleefully cha-cha-cha right into your stomach. :-D


Fennel-Potato Salad

Ingredients:
8 c. water
1/2 tsp. table salt (for seasoning the water)
2 lbs. Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes*, unpeeled & well-scrubbed (about 6-7 small potatoes, 2 cubic inches)
2 large hard-boiled eggs,** peeled (make in advance)
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. nonfat plain Greek yoghurt
1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. fresh dill (fronds only), finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 c. fennel bulb, diced
1/2 c. red onion, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 small onion)
1/4 c. cornichons, finely diced (these are the sour mini pickles, not the sweet kind, i.e., gherkins)
1/3 c. scallions, (white and green parts), sliced crosswise into 1/4" rounds (about 2 large scallions)
1 Tbsp. capers, drained, soaked in 1/4 c. water for 10 minutes, and then drained again

Directions: Bring 8 c. lightly salted water to a rolling boil in a large (4-6 qt.) pot. Then gingerly place the potatoes into the pot of boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover tightly with lid, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost tender when pierced with a knife. Drain into a heat-proof colander, then transfer potatoes back into the pot, and let them cool for at least 15 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: Add hard-boiled eggs, Dijon mustard, Greek yoghurt, olive oil, and lemon juice to a blender (or food processor), cover, and pulse until smooth and emulsified. (Or, if you prefer a chunkier consistency, mash the hard-boiled eggs into oblivion in a large bowl, and then whisk together the Dijon mustard, Greek yoghurt, olive oil, and lemon juice.) Next, pour dressing into large bowl, and whisk in dill, parsley, fennel seeds, and black pepper. Next, add the fennel, red onion, cornichons, scallions, and capers, and gently combine. Set aside. This will allow the solid ingredients some time to marinate in the dressing while you're waiting for the potatoes to cool.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, dice them into small, rough chunks while they're still in the pot. Then transfer the potatoes into the large bowl containing the dressing. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Yield: 6-8 servings.

Chef's Notes: *I like to leave the potato peels intact when adding the potatoes to the salad -- for added color, flavor, texture, and nutrients -- but whether or not you'd like to do this is, of course, up to you.

**Here's how to make the most tender, creamy, and delicious hard-boiled eggs you'll ever have: My grandmother taught my mother this technique, who in turn, taught me, and so now I'm passing it onto you. :) It's super easy to do: First, bring a pot of boiling water to a rolling boil. Then place the eggs into the pot and quickly cover the pot with a tightly fitting lid. Turn off the heat, and allow the pot to sit on the stove burner for at least 25-30 minutes before draining the water and peeling the eggs. (And just in case you're wondering, yes, the water is, in fact, actually hot enough at this stage to cook the eggs all the way through.) Enjoy!

No additional salt is needed for this recipe. The pickles and the capers provide sufficient salt. :)

To make this recipe vegan, just omit the eggs and Greek yoghurt. :) Not sure it'll taste the same, but maybe you can try using an egg substitute and cook it into the same consistency as the hard-boiled egg before blending it with the liquid ingredients. You could also try using silken tofu as a replacement for the Greek yoghurt. Please note, I haven't actually tried making it this way before, so vegans, you've been duly warned. ;)

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