Potatoes in all their varieties and preparations make great comfort food. Unfortunately, they also have a bad rap. This is because potatoes taste sublime with anything buttery, creamy and with lots of cheese. I find it hard to resist creamy potato salad with lots of hard-boiled eggs, so I created a recipe for lemon potato salad with little added fat, but still has a creamy texture.
Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad is just what the name says. Potato salad with lots of vegetables and lightly coated with a lemon-mustard vinaigrette. To replace the hard-boiled eggs of traditional potato salad, I added tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and fresh corn. I believe this salad will work with any variety of vegetables, such as scallions, green beans, sugar snap peas, or traditional celery and carrots.
For the dressing, I wanted it to be lemony and bright without it being too sour. So, I tamed the lemon with mustard, olive oil and my secret ingredient, pickle juice. Just a touch of pickle juice from a jar of bread and butter pickles adds the final touch needed for a delicate balance of sweet and sour flavors. If you do not like pickles then omit their juice, but you may need to add a pinch of sugar to the dressing. As I always recommend, taste and season as you like.
Besides my secret ingredient, one other trick I use for potato salad is to add vinegar or lemon juice to the potatoes while they are still hot after cooking. The potatoes absorb the lemon juice and this added squirt of acid brightens them with flavor.
My inspiration for this recipe came from a delicious tomato salad. It is filled with grape tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh uncooked corn, avocado and basil. A perfect end of the summer salad to enjoy when corn and tomatoes are at their peak. Because potatoes and corn make the perfect pair, I decided to make a lemon potato salad version like this sunny tomato salad.
Eating fresh corn just scraped off the cob is a treat. The kernels are nicely sweet and crisp. It is raw, but it does not taste raw. If you want to add some extra corn flavor, run the back of a knife down the naked cob. This pressure pushes out some corn milk to mix with the fresh kernels. This technique is also great to use when making corn chowder or creamed corn.
Summer is a great time to highlight the fresh flavors of the garden. This is a simple salad to make and is very refreshing. A meal filled with the summer bounty and enhanced with a lemon vinaigrette. Pair Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad with any grilled meat, chicken or fish. It is perfect to bring or make for a party, or make for a weeknight family dinner.
More potato recipes: Potato Salad with Sorrel
Anything Goes Lemon Potato Salad
- 1.5 lbs 691 g medley of baby potatoes
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Juice from half a lemon
- 1 ear corn on the cob
- Half a cucumber about 6 oz 160 g Quartered, seeds removed, and chopped
- 2 fire and ice radishes sliced thinly
- One handful of grape tomatoes about 4 oz (120 g), sliced in half
- 3 scallions white and light green parts only sliced thin
- 4 sprigs flat leaf parsley
- 2-3 sprigs Lemon Thyme
- 1 TB minced fresh chives optional
- 4-6 leaves fresh basil chiffonade sliced (optional)
- 3-4 leaves fresh mint chiffonade sliced(optional)
- Juice from half a lemon about 2 TBS
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 TB Bread and Butter pickle juice
- 3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Scrub the potatoes under cold running water. Fill a large sauce pan part way with water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add a large pinch of Kosher salt to the water, then add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are just done. A knife or fork will easily slice all the way through the middle without resistance. This could take anywhere between 10 to 25 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. I start checking my potatoes after 10 minutes, then check them every 5 minutes thereafter. You do not want to overcook the potatoes or they get mushy.
Once done, remove the potatoes from the boiling water and place on a cutting board. Let cool slightly or use tongs to hold each potato in place while you slice each potato in half. This needs to be done before the potatoes cool, because you squeeze lemon juice over them while they are still warm. It does not matter which way you cut the potatoes in half. I mixed it up for fun and variety and sliced them randomly in half lengthwise or crosswise.
Place the warm sliced potatoes in a large mixing bowl, add the lemon zest and juice to the bowl and gently mix. Allow the potatoes to cool after the lemon juice is added.
While you are waiting for the potatoes to cool, cut the kernels off the corn cob. Cut off the stem of the corn cob to create a flat surface. Place the shucked and cleaned ear of corn in a medium bowl with the flat stem side down in the bowl. Holding onto the tip use a sharp chef's knife and run the knife down the side of the corn cutting the kernels off the cob. Turn the cob a quarter turn and slice off the corn kernels. Repeat all the way around the corn cob until all the kernels are removed. Set aside.
Add the corn and the remaining prepared vegetables to the cooled potatoes, then toss in the fresh herbs. Add the vinaigrette, a couple of tablespoons at first. Mix then taste to see if dressing is needed. If so, add more salad dressing until it reaches your preferred consistency. You should have leftover vinaigrette. Store the leftover vinaigrette in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator to use for another salad.
Garnish with mint leaves and serve.
Potatoes are great sponges and will absorb anything you add to them. If you make this salad too far in advance the potatoes will soak up the dressing and it will appear dry. More dressing might be needed, just be careful not to make it too heavy the vinaigrette and oily.
© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.
What do you get when you have a cake with a creamy and delicate interior protected by a crispy caramelized exterior? You have a rösti. A potato pancake like no other. Its’ soft creamy interior holds together with just the right amount of the potato’s natural starches, creating a pancake that is tender, creamy and crunchy. Rösti originated in Switzerland and was a breakfast staple for farmers. Now, people from all over the world enjoy these potato cakes.
I have enjoyed rosti in restaurants and wanted to see if I could recreate them for myself. After researching many recipes, I decided to use a recipe from The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. His science based technique is typically spot on, inventive, and not too difficult to follow. After making his recipe a few times I picked up a few skills and some new information.
Like life in general, the key to making a successful rösti is all about balance. They are like fritters or latkes, but are thicker and creamier. The type of potato and the technique used to prepare them, work together and create the perfect amount of starch necessary to hold the whole pancake together. Too little starch and the rösti falls apart when you cook it. Too much starch and you have a sticky pancake. Have you ever played with potato starch mixed with water? Its gooey stuff and not something you want in your pancakes.
Kenji believes Russet potatoes are the best ones to use. They are high in starch and will create pancakes with fluffy interiors and crunchy outsides, like the perfect French fries. I agree with him if you follow his technique. For experimentation, I tried a different parcooking method using Russet potatoes and the results were not so great.
Rösti has essentially one ingredient and the key to keeping them intact is the initial preparation. Good sharp tools, like a mandoline or a very sharp knife will cause less potato starch from releasing. A box grater is not as sharp but does a good job cutting the potatoes into the right size.
Parcooking helps prevent the potatoes from oxidizing and give the rösti the right texture. He likes to parcook the potatoes in a microwave which is easy enough, and eliminates a step common in other recipes. I often read potatoes are grated raw, then squeezed to rid them of excess water before assembling. Parcooking potatoes gives the potato cake great texture and fully cooked potatoes throughout the pancake.
Unfortunately, my potatoes oxidized even though I sliced them with a mandoline and parcooked them in a microwave. I am not sure why, but one theory I have is my potatoes where doing what potatoes do, oxidize when exposed to air. Maybe I did not work fast enough, or my knock off Japanese mandoline needs sharpening. After several trials, I am still working this out.
To experiment, I parcooked the potatoes whole in a microwave, let them cool, then grated them using a box grater. This produced rosti with a light and creamy color, but looked and tasted like mashed potato cakes, not a rosti. Maybe a medium starch potato like, Yukon gold is better suited with this technique. Oh, so many variables to figure out, and so little time.
If you have a non-stick pan, it will be a lot easier to make. I do not own one and used a cast iron skillet. They are good pans to use just harder to maneuver the rösti out of the skillet. The sides of my pan are more vertical than they are slopped. My rösti had to slither up and over a cast iron mountainside before it could ease on to a plate. It required some extra encouragement with my spatula to get the rosti to “slide” out of the pan.
As I cooked rösti, I was reminded of making a traditional Spanish tortilla. The amount of oil and the heat of the pan had to be just right so the tortilla would cook properly and slide in and out of two different skillets multiple times. Rösti has less ingredients than a Spanish tortilla, which makes the delicate balance all that more important. It is not hard to make rösti, just more particular.
Traditionally, rösti is considered a side dish, but I love to serve rösti as a meal topped with an egg and salsa. They are also delicious served with any vegetables like spinach. I used Kenji’s suggestion and mixed in a layer of mushrooms and onions because they are one of my favorite foods. I really like this idea and will make it a staple feature whenever I make them.
Serve rösti as an appetizer with garlic or saffron aioli. It is a delicious small plate option for any cocktail party. Add smoked or cured fish, pickles, eggs, vegetables, aioli, and your guests have a satisfying and unexpected meal.
I would love to hear from you about your experience making rösti. Let me know in the comments section below the recipe how you like to prepare rösti. Enjoy!
Rösti: Potato Cake with Mushrooms and Onions
- 3 medium russet potatoes l lb- 1.5 lbs /680 g rinsed peeled and cut with a box grater or mandolin
- 5 Tb/ 62 g olive oil divided
- 1 medium onion
- 4 oz / 125 g mushrooms thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Place the prepared potatoes in a microwave dish and cook on high for around 5 minutes. You do not want the potatoes overcooked and mushy, they should still have a slight bite in the center.
While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1 Tb olive oil in a heavy 10-inch skillet and add the onion and mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms and onions until soft and translucent and just beginning to brown, around 6 - 8 minutes. Add the minced garlic, thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper, stir to mix and cook until you begin to smell the garlic's perfume. Remove the mushrooms and onion from the pan and set aside.
Wipe the skillet clean and return it to the burner. Turn the heat to medium and add 2 Tbs to the skillet. Heat the oil until shimmering. Make sure there is an even coating of oil across the whole pan, then spoon half of the potatoes into the skillet. Press down on the potatoes with a rubber spatula and form the potatoes into a pancake. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then spread the mushrooms and onions over the potatoes. Add the remaining potatoes to cover the mushrooms and onions, then press down on the potatoes to cover the top of the pancake.
Cook the rösti on one side for around 7 minutes. Do not disturb the pancake for at least 4 minutes into the cooking time. After 7- 8 minutes, run a thin spatula around the edges and underneath the potatoes to loosen it from the bottom.
Slide the potatoes onto a plate large enough to hold the rösti. Place another plate, upside down, on top of the plate holding the rosti, so the rims are kissing each other. Flip the plates over, so the bottom plate is now the top and lift off the plate. You should see a beautiful golden brown crusty rösti.
Wipe off any stuck bits from the bottom of the pan and add 2 Tbs olive oil.
When the oil is shimmering, slide the rösti back into the skillet and sprinkle with salt and ground pepper. Cook for 7 more minutes.
When finished, loosen the rosti from the pan and slide it onto a serving plate.
Keep warm or serve immediately.
© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.