Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Put the "Pea" in Potato Salad

Memoooooorial Day is coming up! (That was my Oprah voice, FYI).

You know what that means for me? Food, parties, more food, and ice cold beers.

Kidding. I don't drink beer. At least not until the 28th of June. Oh, the trials of a 20-and-11-month-year-old.

But since it is a holiday, technically, it means we're obliged to celebrate. We wouldn't want to disappoint the vets, now would we?

It should come as no surprise to you that I've already planned the complete menu for our Memorial Day Cook Out...for which I have yet to get an official parental go-ahead... I should probably do that soon...

In any case, here's an incredible summer salad that will compel you to throw a party no matter what the occasion. Woke up before 9 a.m.? Celebrate! Kept your bank account above -$1.14 this week? Celebrate! Got dressed in your workout gear with full intention to hit the gym? Mhmm, you bet.

If you had any doubts, I put the "P" in party, too.

Not only is this potato salad recipe light and healthy, it uses NO dairy, so it's 100% picnic-approved. The magic? It tastes so creamy and decadent! The starch from the potatoes combined with the olive oil vinaigrette combine to make a rich dressing that only feels like a splurge.

In reality, each serving is less than 170 calories! Compare that to your average mayo-based potato salad that can rack in a whopping 400 calories or more, with over 30 grams of fat! Tell me, would you want to slip into your American flag bikini after that? don't have an American flag bikini? Right, no, me neither...

Whether you've got big party plans this weekend or you're in search of a great, go-to summer recipe, you simply must try this. I swear, you'll never reach for the Hellmann's again.

Summer Potato & Pea Salad 
Makes 6 servings

[1 1/2 to 2] lbs variety small potatoes (baby dutch, red bliss, new, etc.)
[1/2] lb or [10] oz english peas
[2] tbsp chopped basil
[1] tbsp chopped mint
[1/2] cup pea shoots
[2] tbsp olive oil
[1/2] tsp dijon mustard
[1] tsp lemon zest
[1] tbsp lemon juice
[1] garlic clove

First, give all your little potatoes a good scrub until they're squeaky clean. If some are much larger than others (which will most likely be the case), cut the larger ones down so that they're all relatively equal in size. This will ensure even cooking.

Drop them in a large saucepan so that they spread into one even layer, then fill with cold water until the potatoes are just covered. Heavily salt the water using a heaping tablespoon and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for about 15 minutes until all the potatoes are fork tender. The potatoes will be done when you can easily pierce them with a fork. If you have some especially small ones, remove them from the boiling water at around 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Salt the water and slowly add the peas. Allow the water to return to a boil, then cook for about 2 minutes.

Drain both the potatoes and the peas, and immediately shock both in a bowl of ice water. Let them cool completely in the ice bath, then remove with a slotted spoon.

Cut the potatoes into quarters, so that (again) they're all the same size. Transfer to a large mixing bowl along with the blanched peas and pea shoots.

For the dressing, whisk olive oil, dijon, garlic, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl. I used a 2:1 ratio of pepper to salt for the dressing, but season to your liking.

Pour the dressing over the potatoes and add the chopped mint and basil. Gently combine with a big wooden spoon, being careful not to break any of the potatoes. Finish with another couple cracks of black pepper and a sprinkling of salt, if needed.

The crisp and springy english peas and pea shoots coupled with a touch of mint make it the perfect, fresh side dish, (not to mention, effortlessly elegant).

Perfect for your next garden party...

or backyard BBQ party,

and, yes, even the party with guest count: Y-o-u. 

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