Monday, May 3, 2010

Mexican Potato Salad

Months ago, I'd made a “mexican” potato salad to bring to a friend's BBQ. My husband, who likes to share my blog with his co-workers, told me that someone who had attended that BBQ had asked if I'd put the recipe up on my blog. I was so pleased that someone had remembered my cooking so well that I thought the occasion deserved an entry :)

I thought I was so slick, dreaming up a “mexican” rift of potato salad. I googled it as soon as I'd thought it up and not surprisingly, I was not the first person to ever stumble upon the notion (I get that alot). However, I had something punchier in mind. Most recipes I saw included use of pickled jalepenos (blech!), carrots, peas (wtf over?). I wanted big mexican flavors but still wanted cool tangy creaminess. Behold!

Mexican Potato Salad

3# Red Bliss Potatoes (or any other thin skinned potato you prefer, yukon golds are always a favorite alternative)
1 c. Sour Cream
½ c. Mayonaise
2 Chipotle Peppers - seeds scraped out & minced + 1 T. of the canned adobo sauce
1 Lime – zested & juiced
1/2 of a Chayote – small dice (cut out & discard the pit/seed)
1 small Red Onion – small dice
2 ribs Celery – small dice
Sea Salt – To Taste
½ c. Cilantro - chopped
Apple Cider Vinegar (for taste adjustment)

~ Pick potatoes of the same general size. Scrub clean. Place in a large pot and fill with water to cover. Bring water to a boil, then bring to a simmer and cook potatoes for 15 minutes or until barely fork tender. Drain potatoes in a colander, then cover with a clean kitchen towel so the potatoes continue to steam and cook (for 20-30 more minutes)

~ Meanwhile, dice the celery, onion and chayote

~ After the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into 1 in. cubes. In a large bowl, combine potatoes with the sourcream, mayo, chipotle + adobo, lime, diced vegetables and large pinch of salt. Mix til combined. Taste and add more salt and acid accordingly. Cover and place in the fridge at least 3-4 hours.

~ Just before you plan on serving, toss in chopped cilantro and mix

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Ta da! Wasn't that fast?? Haha, how exciting is the process of potato salad making?
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What would take this potato salad up to another level would be some diced dried chorizo! I sorely wish I had some on hand and am pretty sure I had put it in my original concoction when I had some in my pantry stores. If you can't seem to find any good quality chorizo in any of the markets in your area, I highly suggest a special order from These people KNOW their chorizo and have umpteen varieties to choose from, including different kinds of fresh.

Now comes the section where I research the most obscure ingredient in my recipe list, should there be one that is not too common. I suppose in this instance, that would be the chayote.. FUN! 

Chayote is the Spanish version of a Nahuatl [Aztec] word “chayotli”. It is a green, pear shaped plant belonging to the gourd family. It is often labeled “Chayote Squash” in supermarkets but I see there is some debate as to whether that is botanically correct. I searched for a good hour to differentiate between gourd and squash and basically what it seems to boil down to is that all squash are gourds but gourds are not always squash.. or some such bullshit.. 

Moving along.. Chayotes are a rather bland, yet still nutritionally lucrative fruit that was first cultivated in Mexico and Central America. The entire plant is edible; from it’s roots to its leaves and shoots. It is rich in amino acids and Vitamin C and can be eaten both raw and cooked (boiled, sautéed, mashed) although is best prepared heavy on the seasonings.
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Personally, I rather like it raw and enjoy mine in salads. It has the firm starchy texture of a potato or water chestnut and tastes much like cucumber or aloe. The seed in the middle IS edible but most people cut it out and discard it, as it’s a bit tough. Look it up on youtube for some preparations and try it!