Happy summer! It’s finally here. School is out, and you can hear screen doors slamming up and down our street with busy folk intent upon enjoying summer. Luke the wonder dog and I have to dodge out of the way of the young bicyclists who are toting colorful towels or tennis racquets as they pursue summertime activities. It’s nice to be outdoors.
My chore avoidance tendency is reemerging as thoughts are reluctantly turning to the Fourth of July, and summertime entertaining, and eating in general. I wake up every morning and think about the day ahead; Luke and I take our first walk, and that’s when I decide if I need to head out to the grocery store for provisions. It’s nice to have planned ahead enough that I have already made a couple of kinds of sturdy salads that can sit in the fridge for a few days.
Potato salad seems to get more flavorful as it steeps in its mayonnaise dressing for a few days. It was excellent with grilled chicken on Sunday night, and it will be even better on Tuesday night with baked salmon, and for a side dish with my cheese sandwich on Wednesday. I’m going to make a double batch for the Fourth: half to bring with us to the picnic, and half for another home-cooked dinner, or two, later in the week.
This is my standard potato salad recipe, which tend to repeat here every year or so:
My Popular Potato Salad
This is a recipe that people actually ask for – and not just because they are my in-laws and trying hard to be polite! It that constantly evolves and adapts, and each summer brings a new twist. I don’t always have green onions – Vidalias work just fine. No red bliss potatoes? Go for Russets. A little fresh thyme? Why not? This potato salad is dependable, tasty and can be adapted and stretched to feed the masses. Just add more potatoes and more mayonnaise. It is particularly fine for large picnic gatherings, but Mr. Sanders has been known to make a midnight snack of it, too. It tastes best if it has a little time to sit and mellow, so if you can make it in the morning, it is just right by suppertime.
Many, many servings…
2 pounds little new, red bliss potatoes (do not peel!)
1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise, thinned with milk, enough to be pourable
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Boil the potatoes until tender. While warm (but not still steaming hot) slice potatoes and begin to layer them in a large bowl – one layer potatoes, then a handful of green onions and salt and pepper. Pour on some of the mayonnaise mixture. Repeat. Gently stir until all the potatoes are coated. You may need to add more mayonnaise mixture when you are ready to serve, as the potatoes absorb the mayo. Deelish.
Martha, who is famous, and I am not, has another recipe for potato salad that calls for hard boiled eggs. Also cornichons and buttermilk. I suppose, in this day and age, there is room for differing viewpoints: Martha Stewart’s Potato Salad
The Smitten Kitchen has a novel approach to potato salad – to use a tzatziki dressing: Smitten Kitchen’s Potato Salad I just love using cucumbers as much as I can in the summer.
More colorful, and probably more nutritious, is this chick pea salad. Chickpeas are loaded with protein and fiber. Tomatoes, especially if your homegrown are ripe, are sweet and delightful. And the lemon juice helps keep the salad fresh for a few days in the fridge. Who could ask for anything more? Chickpea Salad
A panzanella salad is the ultimate lazy unfamous-woman’s dish: tomatoes, dried bread, cukes. Add my favorite cheap white wine, some candlelight, and this is total bliss. And it perfect environmentally, because nothing goes to waste: this is why we stash bread in the freezer: Panzanella Salad
Nobody likes cooking in the summertime, unless you are a happy-go-lucky year-round resident of Tuscany, in which case you cannot ever complain. The rest of us mere mortals need to cope with summer heat, doldrums, and constant existential dread. Let’s enjoy some simplicity, and graze from bowls of deliciousness already stashed awayin the fridge. Let us be grasshoppers for a little while.
“Summer… when fireflies come out at dusk and ice melts too fast in lemonade; ice cream tastes better even though it’s the same-old flavor.”
― Nanette L. Avery