Barbara’s Menu Ideas: Dishes You Can Serve With Potato Salad
A few days ago my friend came over, and while we were talking over coffee, she mentioned she’s planning a dinner party for a couple of her friends and, apparently, she was stuck.
She came to me looking for some dinner menu ideas – all she knew was that she wants potato salad to be included.
It got me thinking; how many of you out there are wondering the same thing – what goes well with potato salad?
Luckily for you, I have some great suggestions in my recipe book, and I’m willing to share, so stick around to get an insight into some of my favorite dishes you can serve with potato salad.
Tips On Preparing A Potato Salad So Good You Won’t Need The Main Dish
You can all agree with me that potato salad is a fairly simple and quick dish to make, right?
How is it possible, then, that so many people make almost identical mistakes when it comes to preparing it?
And most importantly, are you ready to learn how to avoid making them?
If you take some time to learn what these tips are and to implement them, you’ll soon be famous for your perfectly made potato salads.
So, let’s take a look at some of the selected tips for making a potato salad:
1. Use Waxy Potatoes
First off, you need to understand that there are many types of potatoes, and not all of them are suitable for making potato salad.
Because not all of them can maintain their shape after boiling – and you don’t want your potato salad to look more like mashed potatoes in the making, don’t you?
The most important thing you should do is to avoid using starchy potatoes; always go for the waxy type.
If you’re not sure which types of potatoes are waxy, here are some you can use:
- Red Bliss, Adirondack Red, and Adirondack Blue, Carola, Fingerling, Rose Gold, and Purple Viking, as well as New Potato.
2. Start Cold
As I said, a lot of people make the same mistakes; I had my share of undercooked potatoes served to me on various occasions.
I don’t expect everyone to have the same level of cooking skills as I do, but you’d think that cooking potatoes should be an easy thing to do.
Well, it doesn’t seem like that’s the case.
Anyway, there’s a simple solution to this problem:
- Instead of putting potatoes into boiling water, you should start with a pot of cold water. That way, you’ll avoid the possibility of overcooking the potatoes on the outside, while they remain undercooked on the inside.
3. Eight To Twelve Minutes
Potatoes are going to be the main ingredients in your salad, so overcooking or undercooking them is never an option.
You want them to be just right, and that means boiling them until they become soft, tender, with a somewhat creamy texture.
In my experience, this will take between eight and twelve minutes; of course, it will depend on the size and type of the potatoes you’re preparing, but that’s the general rule.
There’s an old trick you can use to check if they’re cooked enough - by piercing them with a fork.
4. Add Salt
Adding salt to the water in which you’re cooking them is vital.
Otherwise, you’ll be left with potatoes that are pretty much flavorless. Once they’re cold, there’s no real point in adding salt anymore; the effect just won’t be the same.
So, if you want your potatoes to be flavorful, always remember to add salt while they’re being boiled.
They’ll act as a sponge and absorb the salt, instead of just being seasoned on the outside.
5. The Right Time To Add Dressing
You probably know there are two types of dressing you can add to your salad; you can use either vinaigrette or mayonnaise-based dressing, and the type you use determines when you use it.
I’ll talk a bit more about the two styles of potato salad later, but for now, let’s stick to the dressings.
If you’re more into the mayo-based dressings, then you should wait for the potatoes to cool down – it usually takes them around 30 minutes or so.
Why do they need to be cold?
Because then the mayonnaise won’t get all oily and melted due to the heat.
However, if you want to use vinaigrette, do it while they’re still warm – they’ll soak up some of it and become a lot more flavorful.
Menu Ideas: Dishes You Can Pair With Potato Salad
Now that you know what the common mistakes of potato salad preparation are, and, most importantly, how to avoid making them, let’s get back to my friend.
As I said previously, she came to me looking for some advice on main dishes that would be most compatible with potato salad.
Here’s the thing about potato salad:
It’s one of those salads that goes well with all sorts of dishes. It’s not only light, but rich in fiber and all kinds of nutrients (vitamin C and potassium are the first that come to mind) as well, so protein-packed dishes are always a good pair.
What’s seems to be the issue then?
There are simply way too many choices; the first thing we had to do is narrow it down a bit – and I recommend you to do the same. Start by deciding on the type of meat you want to cook; you could go for red meat (pork and beef are great options) or poultry (chicken is a standard choice, but turkey will go well, too).
I promised earlier that I’m going to explain to you the two distinct types of this salad – the American and the European. Do you know which is which, though?
The main difference between the two is the dressing you use and how you serve it; while the European salad is served warm and dressed with vinaigrette, the American-style potato salad is served cold and with a mayonaise-based dressing.
So, what are some dishes you can pair with potato salad?
Barbecue and other kinds of fast food are also an excellent choice – these simple dishes are also enjoyed by many with some potato salad on the side.
Whenever my husband decides to fire up the grill in hopes of giving me a well-deserved day off from all my kitchen duties, somehow I always end up making potato salad, because our boys like to eat hot wings with it.
But those are not your only options:
If you’re looking for a more spicy combination, lemon roasted chicken is the way to go – while my husband prefers a grilled ham steak, I’m all for this delicious chicken dish.
The best thing is - it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to prepare it.
I gave the recipe for lemon roasted chicken to my friend and a couple of days later, she called me to thank me:
The dinner was a huge success, she said, everyone loved the flavor combo. 😉
There are plenty of other dishes you could make, too; everyone knows that fish recipes pair exceptionally well with potato salad. On top of that, fish will be a nice break from a heavy, red meat diet.
And if you want something more casual, fish sticks are the way to go. 🙂
As you might have already guessed – and this article only confirmed it – potato salad goes well with practically anything due to its lightness and deliciousness.
And when I say anything, I really mean it; potato salad is an excellent addition to both simple, cookout type of dishes, as well as fancier dinner party menus – and everything in between.
There’s just no way you could go wrong with serving potato salad as a side dish. 😉