While I love a good old American potato salad dressed with mayonnaise and sunshine mustard as much as the next midwestern girl, by this time in the summer I’m ready to change things up a little.
How about you? (By the way, my mother-in-law makes the very best potato salad and while she might not want you to know, pickle juice is her secret ingredient.)
Since Colorado grows stellar potatoes down in the San Luis Valley as well as in the northeast corner of the state, I’ve over the years made Sweet Potato Salad, Warm Two-Potato Salad, Grilled Eggplant Potato Salad, Potato-Broccoli Salad with Spicy, Sweet Corn Potato Salad, and more. ( Just type “potato salad” into the search box and see what you come up with!)
Luckily there’s no limit on what you can do with potatoes; every year there’s room for something new. On Wednesday, friends Jim and Christa invited me for brats purchased from Colorado Springs’ very own German deli and bakery, Wimbergers. If you’ve never had Wimberger’s brats, you’re in for a treat because they sell everything from veal to pork to beef–nothing like the run of the mill brats available in most grocery stores. Well known for their gorgeous deli meat, Wimberger’s also offers the perfect bread and rolls to accompany anything they sell.
Wimberger’s Old World Bakery & Deli
2321 Bott Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904 Telephone: 719.634.6313
If Jim would grill his famous brats, I promised to bring potato salad and dessert. The invitation was reason enough to dream up a new potato salad, though frosted scratch brownies I’ve made a gazillion times brought up the end of the parade. Need a summery salad that will serve as salad, starch, side, and vegetable? Want one that can be made totally outdoors, given you have a gas grill with a side burner for parboiling the vegetables? Try this:
grilled potato-vegetable salad
- Grill or Grill pan
- 1 ½ pounds small new potatoes, unpeeled, cut in half
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1 medium zucchini cut into 1-inch chunks
- ½ cup each broccoli and cauliflower florets
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
- Sweet red bell pepper julienned
- ½ medium red onion thinly sliced
- Zest of one well-washed lemon
- Dash or two of hot sauce to taste
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon each minced fresh tarragon and dill
- Cover the potatoes with water in a 6-quart pot; season with a teaspoon kosher salt and half-teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Cover and bring to a rolling boil; turn down so that potatoes are simmering gently and let cook uncovered 10 minutes or until nearly tender. Add zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower and let cook another 5 minutes. Drain in a colander in the sink and carefully turn vegetables out into a very large cotton towel, gently gathering the towel around the potato mixture to dry everything a bit. You can also blot them with paper towels if you prefer.
- Light grill and heat to high or preheat stovetop grill pan. Tip vegetables into a large bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle on another ½ teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper over all. Grill potatoes for 2-3 minutes, cut side down, or until dark grill marks appear. Turn potatoes over and add other vegetables and grill for another minute or two, turning as needed, until everything is fork-tender. You may need to do this in two shifts if you have a small grill or grill pan.
- Return potatoes, zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower back into the large bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Make vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar with a tablespoon of Dijon-style mustard, another pinch each salt and pepper, along with a dash or two of hot sauce—or to taste. Whisk in 4 tablespoons olive oil. Drizzle half of the vinaigrette over the grilled vegetables while they are hot and gently stir until totally coated.
- Stir in the onions, bell pepper, lemon zest, parsley, tarragon, and dill. Drizzle with the remainder of the vinaigrette, stirring again gently until well combined. Taste, adjusting seasonings as necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature. May store in the refrigerator up to 3 days, perhaps adding a little olive oil and vinegar to freshen the salad up.
How to cook grilled vegetables perfectly/EATING WELL
My old, dear friend, Joyce Smith, lost her fight with leukemia this week; her funeral is today in Sandpoint, Idaho. Joyce, a midwest farm girl who’d moved west, saved my life during a time just after my mother, two babies, and my dog had died in a 3-year period. I had moved across the country with my family, leaving behind home, a slew of friends and a much-loved job, only to find my new very-best Spokane friend right across the street. She, along with her husband Bud and three kids — Suzanne, Garrett, and Gregory– saw Dave, son Sean, and me through two glorious, but difficult years when we adopted two toddlers, delivered our healthy, happy baby Emily Suzanne, and then quickly moved to Europe with four kids. From Joyce came help, fun, comfort, laughter, food, babysitters, huckleberry picking expeditions, camping trips, coffee breaks, baked goods, holidays, a church community, and much else I’m unable to list. That she was a treasure trove of information goes without saying. She was a total encyclopedia in one woman who could make literally anything into a picnic. Did I say she was probably the best and happiest cook in Spokane? To admit I’m grateful for her life is true, but I’m just one of hundreds who would probably say these same things. Can you imagine that?
Love you, “Joyces,” which is what my small children called her. There aren’t enough thanks…but God knows the gift we were all given and what the world has lost. I know you’re stirring up your famous hot fudge in heaven with all the saints standing in line for a taste.
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.Psalm 118: 24–Joyce’s favorite verse. It was her.
… … …
I dedicate this healthy, tasty salad to Joyce–who taught me as much about cooking as anyone except my mom.
A few mixed-emotion tears here,