Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Herbed Farro Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

It’s still summer, but the hope of fall is in the air. We are still in the cold salad territory, but moving into something heartier. I love this robust grain salad – it’s a change up from a standard pasta salad, but the addition of fresh herbs and cucumbers freshens things up and it makes the most of the end of tomato season with bright baby tomatoes and a tangy fresh tomato vinaigrette. If you haven’t experimented with farro yet, you should give it a try. It’s a healthy whole grain wheat with a slightly nutty, toasty flavor and a substantial texture and bite. I love it in soup, but is so fabulous in this tabbouleh-inspired salad because it beautifully absorbs the dressing. It’s the perfect picnic or grilling side, but is substantial enough to be the main course.

I say here to use a cup of cherry tomatoes, but it can be a little tough to judge. When I find little bitty tomatoes at the farmers market I love their cuteness and usually just cut them in half. Large tomatoes I quarter, but if all you can find in season is large tomatoes, seed them and chop them well. Reserve some of the dressing to stir through right through right before serving – the grain will absorb a lot of it while refrigerated. I also like to chop the cucumber into quite small pieces so every bite of salad has a bite.

Herbed Farro Salad with Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette

1 ½ cups farro

3 cups vegetable stock

1 lemon, zested and juiced, divided

2 teaspoons of kosher salt

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

½ cup mint leaves

½ cup Italian parsley leaves

¼ cup cilantro leaves

3 green onions

½ seedless cucumber

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 tomato, about 8 ounces

¼ cup white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon salt

Generous grinds of black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

Place the farro in a strainer and rinse well with cool water. Place it in a pot with the vegetable stock, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the grains are tender, but still have a little chew. Drain the farro through the strainer and rinse with cool water. Leave to drain, then transfer to a large bowl. Pour over 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and add the zest and stir to coat. Add the chickpeas and stir to combine.

Finely chop all the herbs and add to the farro. Chop the cucumber into very small pieces, add to the bowl, then chop the green onions finely and add. Half or quarter the cherry tomatoes and stir to combine everything well.

Cut the tomato in half and remove the core and seeds. Place in the carafe of a blender, add the vinegar, honey, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, honey salt and pepper and blend until completely pureed. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until blended and smooth. Pour about ¾ of the dressing over the salad and stir to coat. Reserve the rest of the dressing in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and refrigerate the salad and remaining dressing for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, you can add some extra dressing if you feel it is needed and season with a little salt if you like.

Serves 6

Buttermilk Coleslaw

Coleslaw is a perfectly refreshing summer side dish, I’m not sure it’s actually allowed to have a summer celebration without it! There are so many delicious versions of coleslaw, and many people have very particular requirements, it can be a somewhat fraught decision about which to serve. But I do like to switch things up, from tangy, vinegary Crispy Picnic Slaw to this creamy iteration that has a very fresh finish perfect in the heat of summer. Some people tell me am a little bit obsessed with buttermilk, and I can’t say they’re wrong. I think it adds such flavor and dimension to everything it touches. In this recipe, buttermilk makes the slaw tangy and fresh with a refreshing creaminess that manages not to be overbearing.

And this coleslaw is versatile. Great with barbecue, hamburgers or hot dogs, or as a part of a cold picnic spread. I grab my vegetables at the farmers market for a local summer treat at the peak of freshness. If you can’t find two kinds of cabbage, one color is perfectly fine, and you can omit the carrots or the radishes, though they add such a lovely, colorful touch. You may want to drain off a little of the dressing before serving, some of the liquid from the cabbage will add to the dressing.

Buttermilk Coleslaw
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 small head of green cabbage
  2. 1 small head of purple cabbage
  3. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  4. 2 carrots
  5. 3 radishes
  6. ½ cup mayonnaise
  7. ½ cup whole buttermilk
  8. ¼ cup granulated sugar
  9. 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  10. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  11. generous grinds of black pepper.
Instructions
  1. Shred the cabbage – you can do this on the food processor, a box grater, or very thinly slice the cabbage with a large knife. You should have about 10 cups of cabbage Place the cabbage in a colander and toss it with the salt. Leave it to drain for at least an hour, tossing it around a few times. Rinse and drain the cabbage. Spread the cabbage on paper-towel lined baking sheet. Grate the carrots and radishes and toss with the cabbage. Leave to dry for about half and hour. You can pat it dry with more paper towels if you prefer.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, sugar, lemon juice and pepper until thoroughly combined. Add the grated vegetables and toss with a fork to coat the slaw with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for several hours at least, but overnight is perfect. Toss well before serving. You may want to drain off some accumulated dressing.
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Southern Buttermilk Cobb Salad

Summer entertaining should be easy. It is just too hot to spend hours over a steaming stove. But that doesn’t mean a meal can’t be spectacular. And I am telling you, no one will feel cheated with a salad for dinner when it is this full of delicious, hearty components. I love laying this out on a big rectangular platter – it absolutely produces oohs and ahhs. But a big pretty bowl will work as well. The buttermilk poached chicken is tender with a hint of tang, and the buttermilk vinaigrette walks the line between creamy and light perfectly.

Here’s what I do to make this easy. I marinate and cook the chicken a day ahead and chill in the fridge, and hard boil the eggs keeping them in their shell in the fridge as well and whip up the dressing. Then before serving I put the bacon on a baking sheet in the oven to cook until crispy, then drain it on paper towels. Radishes and cucumbers can be sliced and cubed a few hours ahead. Cut the chicken into chunks, peel and slice the eggs, crumble the bacon and shortly before dinner is to be served, just assemble the salad. Serve with some lovely bread and you’ve got a full meal.

What I list here is a guide: go with whatever beautiful fresh vegetables you find. Avocado is traditional on a cobb salad, but I like refreshing locally grown cucumbers, paired with colorful radishes and bright tomatoes. Blue cheese adds a lot of tang, but goat cheese is wonderful too.

Southern Buttermilk Cobb Salad
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. Buttermilk Poached Chicken
  2. 3 ½ cups whole buttermilk
  3. 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  6. Buttermilk Vinaigrette
  7. 2 green onions, very finely chopped
  8. 1 clove of garlic, put through a garlic press
  9. 2/3 cup whole buttermilk
  10. 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  11. 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  12. ½ teaspoon hot sauce
  13. Salt and pepper to taste
Salad
  1. 2 heads of romaine lettuce
  2. 3 hard boiled eggs. sliced
  3. 3 large radishes. Thinly sliced
  4. 6 strips of bacon, cooked crisp
  5. ½ cup blue cheese
  6. ½ of a seedless cucumber, cubed
  7. 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
For the chicken
  1. Stir the buttermilk, hot sauce, and a hearty dose of salt and pepper together in a large saucepan. Add the chicken breasts and refrigerate for four hours or overnight. Place the pan over medium low heat and bring the buttermilk just to a simmer – do not boil. Cook just at a bubble until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 – 40 minutes. I like to use a probe thermometer to gauge that the chicken has reached 165 degrees. The buttermilk will separate and look a little curdled, that’s fine. When the chicken is cooked through, remove it and rinse off the curdy buttermilk. Pat the chicken dry, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Vinaigrette
  1. Place all the ingredients in a pint jar and shake well to combined. I like to make this a day ahead so the flavors really meld together and store it in the fridge. Shake well before serving.
Assembly
  1. Layer a large platter or salad bowl with torn romaine leaves, then top with the chicken, vegetables, eggs, bacon and cheese, Drizzle with the vinaigrette.
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Barbecue Pasta Salad

My hometown of Memphis is known far and wide for barbecue. And we’ve found ways to barbecue-ize everything. Pizza, nachos, pimento cheese (yes, I did that). So when I was pulling together an outdoor picnic, adding a dose of barbecue to the spread seemed only natural, so I added a little Memphis kick to a lovely cold pasta salad. The results were a big hit, so I think it will become a staple in my summer side menu. It’s great with burgers and dogs, but also compliments a cold sandwich spread.

As is the case with dishes like this one, it is imminently customizable. I love using my house barbecue sauce, so I control the spice and sweetness, plus I end up with some extra sauce for burgers or grilling. But if you use a bottled sauce, I won’t tell. Use a mix of colored bell peppers, substitute green onions for the red. Add some cooked crispy bacon, or small cubes of cheddar cheese. Stirring some vinegar into the cooled pasta helps to add a salty flavor – it’s difficult to get the level right in a cold dish, so salt it after it has chilled.

Barbecue Pasta Salad
Serves 8
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For the Barbecue Sauce
  1. 1 ¼ cup ketchup
  2. 1 cup dark brown sugar
  3. ¼ cup sorghum
  4. ¼ cup cider vinegar
  5. ¼ cup water
  6. 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  7. 2 ½ teaspoons ground mustard
  8. 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. ½ teaspoon black pepper
  11. ½ teaspoon garlic powder
For the Salad
  1. 16 ounces small pasta
  2. 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  3. 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  5. ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  6. ½ cup barbecue sauce
  7. 1 cup mayonnaise
  8. salt and pepper to taste
For the Sauce
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and whisk to blend well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Leave the sauce to cool. This makes more sauce than needed for the salad, the extra will keep covered in the fridge for up to a week.
For the Salad
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Rinse the pot with water to cool it down, then return the pasta to the pot. Add the vinegar and stir to coat the pasta. Toss the noodles with the onion, green pepper and parsley.
  2. Stir the barbecue sauce and mayonnaise together in a small bowl until completely combined, then pour over the pasta. Stir to completely coat the pasta. Cover and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to blend. The Salad can be kept covered in the fridge for up to two days.
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Greek Style Green Bean Salad

Every year, I look forward with great anticipation to the Memphis Greek Festival. I go as soon as it opens and stock up on frozen spanikopita, delight at the flaming cheese saganaki and pig out on the cookies and pastries made by the ladies of the church. And it always gets me thinking about Greek recipes. I’ve only been to Greece once, many years ago, with friends on a budget and without a lot of knowledge about Greek cuisine. But we ate well, and those flavors have always stuck with me. One dish we found on many menus was green beans stewed with tomatoes, garlic and herbs, and it sometimes just came with whatever cheap plate meal we ordered. I’ve used that idea as a template for cooking fresh green beans at home, or for maximizing the flavor of frozen beans. But I flipped the script here to create a refreshing summer salad that makes great use of the farmers market abundance here in the South.

Beans cooked just until crisp, tomatoes roasted to bring out their sweet richness, fragrant oregano and salty feta cheese marry together perfectly. I prefer to use a solid block of feta cheese which I cut into small pieces. Pre-crumbled cheese tends to dissolve and muddy up the finished product.

Greek Style Green Bean Salad
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds fresh green beans
  2. 12 ounces fresh tomatoes (about 2 medium)
  3. 3 cloves garlic
  4. 6 -7 sprigs of fresh oregano
  5. 7 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  6. 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  8. 1 large shallot
  9. 8 ounce block feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, and fill a large bowl or sink with ice water. When the water is boiling, drop in the beans and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and plunge them into the ice water to stop cooking. When the beans are cold in the water remove them to a tea towel to air dry. The beans can be cooked up to a day ahead and refrigerated in a ziptop bag.
For the Vinaigrette
  1. Preheat the oven to 300. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place in a small baking dish close together. Tuck the garlic cloves into the tomatoes, so they do not touch the bottom of the dish. Tuck three – four sprigs of oregano into the tomatoes, then drizzle over 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Turn the tomatoes around in the oil so they are coated, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 ½ hours, until the tomatoes are completely soft. Scrape the tomatoes and all the collected juices into the carafe of a blender and leave to cool. When the tomatoes are cool, add the vinegar and blend until smooth. Drizzle in the remaining 6 Tablespoons of olive oil until the dressing is smooth and completely blended. The dressing can be made ahead and kept covered in the fridge. Blend again before adding to the salad.
  2. When ready to serve, cut the beans into ½ inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Thinly slice the shallot and add to the beans. Cut the feta cheese into small cubes and add to the bowl. Finely chop the remaining oregano and add to the bowl. Toss everything to combine, then pour over some of the dressing, then gently stir to coat the beans. Start with about three-quarters of the dressing, then add more as you like. You may have a little more dressing than you want to use. Taste and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. The salad can be kept in the fridge for a few hours. Serve chilled.
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Shrimp Ravigote

I am recipe developer by trade, so friends and family often ask me to recreate favorite dishes from local restaurants or food businesses. I always try, with varying degrees of success. These requests become more frequent, and more urgent, when a place closes. A favorite, classic lunch place in Memphis closed not too long ago, and several friends have since asked me how to make their signature shrimp ravigote, a long time mainstay on the menu. I’ve been tinkering with it for a while, but with the heat of summer creeping in, it seemed like the perfect time to post a recipe for a cold, refreshing summer salad like this one.

There are many versions of shrimp ravigote, cold and hot, spicy and simple. Ravigote is derived from the French word meaning to “freshen up” so a fresh, chilled salad seems logical to me. I started the process of re-creating the recipe by polling everyone who asked me for it what they liked about this particular version of shrimp ravigote. A few told me they loved that it included eggs. One disputed that there were eggs in it at all. Some remembered it as being mild, while others remembered it being spicy with horseradish. That’s why reconstructing a recipe is sometimes so tough – memory and reality often diverge. So I researched recipes online and in old community cookbooks. Fortunately, I had Instagrammed a photo from the restaurants’ last week in business, so I could look back at that for reference. In the end, I am not sure I have faithfully re-created the exact restaurant version, but it is the version I like. Eggs, not too spicy, delightfully refreshing. My photo from the restaurant shows the salad served on a lettuce leaf with a few slices of avocado and a cheese straw – and I recommend that way of serving it as well.

Shrimp Ravigote
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 4 large eggs
  2. 2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp
  3. 2 cups mayonnaise
  4. 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
  5. 4 green onions, finely chopped
  6. 2 Tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  7. 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
  8. 2 Tablespoons ground mustard powder
  9. 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  10. 2 teaspoons jarred horseradish
  11. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  12. ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Rinse off the outside of the eggs, then place them in a saucepan covered by water by about an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. When the water reaches a boil, cook the eggs for 7 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a sink or large bowl with ice water. When the seven minutes are up, transfer the eggs to the ice water with a slotted spoon. Drop the shrimp into the boiling water and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, just until they are firm, pink and cooked through. Drain and plunge into the ice water. Leave to cool completely, then drain both the eggs and the shrimp.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise, pimentos, green onions, parsley, capers, mustard powder, lemon juice, horseradish, salt and pepper together in a large bowl and stir to fully combine, making sure everything is evenly distributed.
  3. Roll the eggs on the counter to crack the shells all over, then peel. Rinse with cool water to remove any shell, then pat them dry. Finely chop the eggs and add them to the dressing. Add the shrimp and stir to coat with the dressing, again making everything is evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve chilled
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Lady Pea, Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Lady Pea, Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

I adore lady peas. They are as lovely as their sweet name suggests. These tiny little gems are creamy and pack a flavor punch for their diminutive size. And during the summer, when the lady peas are abundant, I use them in whatever way I can, braised in butter or in a beautiful Sunshine Succotash. This fresh salad is perfect for a late summer supper, featuring the stars of a Southern summer farmers’ market in a fresh basil vinaigrette. It is light and fresh and looks beautifully colorful. I have served this several times this summer, with a cold fried chicken supper and as part of a fresh summer vegetable meal alongside seasonal green beans, sliced tomatoes and watermelon. It’s a great salad to keep in the fridge over a summer weekend to go with sandwiches or to serve in a dainty lettuce cup.

Sometimes I find tiny “currant” tomatoes that are about the size of pearls. I love to use those in this salad when I can. Otherwise, look for small tomatoes and cut any larger ones in half. Red onions add a nice pop of color and bite, but diced green onions would work just as well.

Lady Pea, Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. For the Vinaigrette
  2. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  3. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  6. ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  7. ¾ cups olive oil
  8. For the Salad
  9. 2 cups fresh lady peas
  10. 5 ears fresh corn, husked and cut from the cob
  11. ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  12. 1 ½ cups small cherry tomatoes
For the Vinaigrette
  1. Place the lemon juice, mustard, salt and basil leaves in the bowl of a small food processor or blender. Pules to chop up the basil, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vinegar and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until you have a nice emulsified dressing. Store the vinaigrette covered in the fridge for up to three days.
For the Salad
  1. Rinse the lady peas, then place in a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water (you’ll add the corn later, so there needs to be room). Bring to a boil, skim off any foam, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook for 20 – 30 minutes, just until the peas are tender, but still have a little bite. Add the corn kernels, stir, cover the pot and cook a further five minutes. Drain the peas and corn and rinse with cold water. Leave to drain completely, then place in a large bowl, add the onion and stir to combine.
  2. You can prepare the salad up to this point, cover and refrigerate for one day.
  3. About an hour before serving, add the cherry tomatoes and toss to combine. Pour over the dressing and stir to coat everything and evenly distribute the dressing. Taste and add salt as needed.
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Mom’s Dilled Potato Salad

Mom's Dilled Potato SaladEvery once in a while, I get stuck. I feel like I’ve run out of recipe ideas, so I look everywhere for inspiration. I was recently stuck like this, right before summer, and I whined about it to my mom. She simply said “make that potato salad, it’s so good in summer” as if I know exactly what she meant. I didn’t, so she had to explain it to me, and pull out her recipe card box. She says it is her favorite potato salad, but I have no memory of ever eating it or seeing her make it. But she was right, it is a great potato salad for summer. She loves dill, so anything with a healthy dose like this is likely to appeal, but the crispy peas, crunchy, salty capers and tangy creamy dressing make this a stand-out version. So I call it Mom’s, not because it’s a long-held family memory, but because my mom said so.

Cooking the potatoes in water with salt and vinegar, helps to season the potatoes. It can be tough to get a salty balance with cold, cooked potatoes after the fact. I like to use little red potatoes that hold their shape better when you cut them after cooking.

Mom's Dilled Potato Salad
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  2. 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  3. 2 pounds small red potatoes
  4. ½ cup Greek yogurt
  5. ½ cup mayonnaise
  6. ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  7. 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  8. 2 Tablespoon drained capers
  9. 3 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped
  10. 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
Instructions
  1. Add the salt and vinegar to a large pot of water and bring to the boil. Drop in the potatoes and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well and leave to cool.
  2. When the potatoes are cool, mix the yogurt, mayonnaise, dill, lemon juice, capers and green onions together in a large bowl (or use the pot you cooked the potatoes in to save a dirty dish). Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces and add to the dressing with the peas. Stir to coat, season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and refrigerate. Leave to chill for a few hours, but the salad will keep for up to two days.
The Runaway Spoon http://therunawayspoon.com/blog/

Marinated Summer Squash Salad

Marinated Summer Squash Salad

Squash season is starting, and everyone I know is always looking for new ways to use the bounty. Everything old is new again though, so I pulled out this recipe. In recent years, I have seen an explosion of fancy squash salads on restaurant menus and on Pinterest. The trend seems to be thinly slicing the squash lengthwise to create long ribbons. It does make for a pretty salad. But in the back of my mind, I knew I had made a squash salad from an old community cookbook in my collection. I’ve been combing through the volumes for a couple of squash seasons now looking for the recipe, and I finally found it. The book is from a small town in Mississippi and was published in the Nineties, putting it slightly ahead of the trend. I jazzed it up with a little marjoram in the dressing

I like to slice everything on a mandolin slicer to create whisper thin strands that soak up the simple dressing. Slicing the squash paper thin is essential, but if you don’t have a mandolin, you can use a vegetable peeler to make thin slices, and you can dice the other vegetables into small pieces. And I suppose you can create those photogenic long squash ribbons, but to be honest, I think it’s easier to eat this as round slices. This makes for a wonderful summer cook-out dish. You can make it up to a day ahead, and the tangy pickled bite of the fresh squash is a real taste of summer.

Marinated Summer Squash Salad
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound yellow summer squash
  2. ½ of a yellow onion
  3. 3 stalks of celery
  4. 1 green bell pepper
  5. 2/3 cup white wine vinegar
  6. ¼ cup granulated sugar
  7. 1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
  8. 2 teaspoons salt
  9. ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  10. 1/3 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Thinly slice the squash on a mandolin and place in a large, wide bowl. Cut the onion half in half again, and slice each piece on the mandolin and add to the bowl. Carefully slice the celery on the mandolin and add to the mix. Cut out the seeds from the pepper and cut it into quarters. Slice the pieces on the mandolin and add to the bowl. Use your hands to toss the ingredients together, separating the squash slices.
  2. Put the vinegar, sugar, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large jar with a tight lid and shake to combine. Add the oil, screw on the lid and shake until well combined. You can also whisk everything together in a bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to combine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24. Give everything a good stir when you think about it.
  3. Drain the salad through a colander, then spread the vegetables on a serving platter. Taste and add a little salt if you like. Serve chilled.
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Mardi Gras Potato Salad

Mardi Gras Potato Salad

I recently made a batch of Debris Po’ Boys to photograph and served them to family for dinner. I needed a nice side dish, and though my first thought was New Orleans made spicy potato chips, I happened to be in the produce department and came across bags of little purple and gold mixed potatoes. With Mardi Gras on my mind, I decided I just had to make a thematic potato salad. Okay, it’s a little silly, making a side dish in the purple, green and gold colors traditional in Mardi Gras celebrations, but it was a fun conversation piece as we served ourselves supper. And these roasted potatoes tossed with the trinity of Cajun cooking – onions, green peppers and celery – coated in a tangy creole mustard vinaigrette also happens to be very good.

Purple and yellow potatoes are pretty easy to find in groceries this day, particularly gourmet or natural food markets. If you don’t find the little golf ball sized miniature version, just cut whole potatoes into bite-sized chunks.

Mardi Gras Potato Salad
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. ½ pound small purple potatoes
  2. ½ pound small yellow potatoes
  3. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  4. salt and pepper
  5. 3 Tablespoons Creole mustard
  6. 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  7. ½ teaspoon hot sauce (I like Crystal)
  8. 4 green onions, white and some green parts, finely chopped
  9. ½ cup olive oil
  10. 1 stalks celery
  11. 1 green bell pepper
  12. chopped fresh parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces (quarters or eighths, depending on size). Spread the potatoes out on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle over the tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and some black pepper. Roast the potatoes until a knife inserted in the center of a piece meets no resistance, about 25 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a large bowl.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, mix the mustard, vinegar, hot sauce and green onions in a mason jar and shake to combine. Add the olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper and shake until fully combined. As soon as you put the hot potatoes in the bowl, pour over the vinaigrette and stir to coat. Leave to cool to room temperature, stirring a few times to distribute the dressing.
  4. Chop the celery into a small dice, then seed and chop the pepper into a small dice. When the potatoes are cool, add the celery and pepper to the bowl and stir to distribute evenly. Waiting until the potatoes have cooled keeps the celery and pepper crisp. Taste and add salt as needed. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  5. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to serve. Sprinkle over some chopped parsley and serve.
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