A Mayo-Free World

If you're stuck in traffic at 2 o'clock this afternoon, turn on your radio, pretty please. I'll be feeding Sam Litzinger, my on-air pal on Washington Post Radio (107.7 FM, 1500 AM...or if you are computer-bound, www.washingtonpostradio.com). This week, I've got a few painless side dishes suitable for weekend cookouts and all things grilled.

I won't divulge all the tasty secrets, but one of the items on the menu is mayo-free potato salad, a concept that deserves far-better treatment than its goopy, mayonnaise-y counterpart. What is up with the mayo in the potato salad, people?

Try the details below on for size and tell me what you think. And yes, I know, I'm ruffling all kinds of mayo-loyal feathers. Share your thoughts, your recipes, but please, don't send me any jars of the white stuff.

Mayo-Free Potato Salad

Key Players:

*Thin-skinned, waxy potatoes such as baby reds, Yukon golds or fingerlings are great choices. (Cut into bite-sized chunks.) With these smaller potatoes, estimate 2-3 per person (or more, if you've got hearty eaters).
*Coarse salt
*Lemons
*Olive oil

Add-ons:
Herbs of your choice, garlic or garlic scapes (flowering part of garlic plant), scallions, crumbled bacon, dijon-style mustard, vinegar (wine, herb, rice)

Method:
Boil potatoes in salted water (for one pound of potatoes, use about ½ teaspoon of salt) and cook until tender with a fork. Drain.

While still warm, drizzle with oil, dress with lemon juice and season with salt. Lemon zest is great in this dish.

Then add your extras. I've had fun with chopped fresh rosemary or thyme or basil (make sure with basil you add it just before serving or it will turn black), scallions, thinly sliced garlic scapes.

Keep seasoning until your desired flavors arrive on the tongue.

Serve at room temperature or chilled; however, if you chill the salad, you may have to re-season, with a tad more salt.

By Kim ODonnel |  June 2, 2006; 10:56 AM ET  | Category:  Side Dishes , Vegetarian
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I've always been a HUGE fan of the mayo-less potato salad. I'm Greek, if that means anything. My family makes their potato salad with red-skinned potatoes, sliced red onion, sliced bell pepper, tons of chopped italian parsley, extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. don't forget the fresh ground pepper and kosher salt. my mouth is watering as i type. Thanks, Kim. Love your chats & blog.

Posted by: Alexia | June 2, 2006 12:09 PM

While growing up, the only way I knew potato salad was with mayo. Now, as a 61 year-old woman, I much prefer my potato salad with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley, other herbs, salt and pepper. I think it is far superior, and really enhances the potato's taste better than mayo does.

Posted by: Barbara | June 4, 2006 07:25 PM

I LOVE mayo, and I'm not a fatophobe. I was raised on Mom's mayo potato salad, and that's the one I make. But rather than get rid of the mayo, I've tried it using blanched caulifower florets instead of potatoes, with everything else the same -- liked it!

Posted by: Sharon | June 5, 2006 11:47 AM

In my family, there is one summer delicacy we really cherish: Grammie's Potato Salad or as we loving refer to it, Heart Attack in a Bowl. Not only does it involve lots of mayo, but it also requires bacon, bacon drippings and egg yolks. Bad for you? Yes. But it won't kill you if you have it once or twice a summer.

Posted by: salad | June 5, 2006 01:03 PM

I make this with a dijon mustard, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice dressing, tossed in while the taters are still warm. I also add kosher salt to taste, black pepper and diced red onion or scallions, and a sprinkling of chopped italian parsley.

The other day I found another great addition to this recipe. The potato salad needed a little more of an acidic kick and I was out of lemons, so I reached for what I thought was the white vinegar. I sprinkled it on top and only then did I realize it was actually vermouth! And it was great!

Vermouth is a great addition to the dressing.

Posted by: Gen | June 6, 2006 02:44 PM

An additional addon would be a carton of Alouette garden/herb cheese. Yum!

Posted by: Jules | June 6, 2006 11:26 PM

Where can we get those mayo-free tee shirts? Even as a child, I hated mayo. It definitely created some social problems - mayo was everywhere-- on little tea sandwiches at the bridal shower, in most of the salads at the church salad supper. How do you politely decline something containing mayo -"call me crazy but mayo makes me sick" My mother-in-law even suggested that I "learn to like mayo" I proposed that she learn to like Limberger cheese.

Posted by: Diane | June 7, 2006 12:00 AM

Diane, you made me snort while drinking my first cup of coffee! I was only half kidding about the shirts, but the more I think about it, it's pretty darn fabulous idea, no? I think it's time to start asking some of my designer friends to create a logo. Will keep you posted!

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | June 7, 2006 07:40 AM

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