Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Forward and Lighten Up

So time has sprung forward and the seasons will be changing before our eyes. What's the best way to celebrate the change of warmer weather, beautiful flowers and longer days? Through food, of course! It would not be spring or summer time if there wasn't a bountiful selections of tasty salads. Garden salads and potato salad has always been a nostalgic side dishes that always revisited almost every spring time brunch or summertime barbeque. As good as potato salad may be, its richness can be too heavy for those hot summer days along with the need to stay on ice due to the mayo. So I thought, why not merge the best of both worlds - the garden and the potato salad with a lighter dressing. When people think of garden salad they think of lettuce first. I didn't want to use lettuce in this recipe because I want the salad to hold up with the vinaigrette dressing. So I decided to use some other veggies that would hold in texture as well as flavor. I also wanted to use a seasonal vegetables that occupy most supermarkets, farmer's markets and home gardens: tomatoes and yellow squash. The other element ingredients are traditional to the potato salad with maybe a color change in the pepper and onion. Now the dressing; I wanted to lighten it up with flavors that would compliment the other ingredients. So I put together what I thought was light dressing with a kick; a Jalapeno Honey Mustard Vinaigrette. The finished product was absolutely decadent and ready for Spring/Summer time meals. Here's the recipe followed by a few tips.

Garden Potato Salad w/Jalapeno Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Serving: 6


4Tbsp Honey Mustard
1 Medium Jalapeno Pepper, seeded* and diced
1/4 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice, (Freshly squeezed from a half of a lemon)
Salt to taste

Garden Potato Salad

5-6 Idaho® Yukon Gold, washed, and cut into 1 inch cubes, and boil til fork tender
1 Small Orange Pepper, diced
1 Small Red Onion, diced
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Yellow Squash, thickly sliced rounds and then quarter cut each round
1 Large Roma Tomato, thickly sliced and then quartered
1/2 Cup of fresh Parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all of vinaigrette ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. Cover bowl and allow the flavors to come together in the frig**.

In a small bowl add diced onions and lemon juice and let sit while potatoes are cooking.***

In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, add potatoes and cook until they are fork tender (5-10minutes). Once potatoes are done, drain and rinse in cold water and drain again. Gently mix in a large bowl cooled potatoes, squash, tomatoes, red onions, orange peppers, along with jalapeno honey mustard vinaigrette. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Finally, add the parsley to the salad and serve.

* If you want more spice kick in the vinaigrette, leave some or all seeds. The heat of the jalapeno and all hot peppers are in the seeds.

** The longer the vinaigrette sits in the frig the more levels of flavors are pulled together. The vinaigrette can actually be made a day or two before you are ready to serve.

*** Adding the lemon juice to the diced onions actually take the onion-y bite out of the onion. So it wont be as strong, but it will still add flavor to the salad.


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