Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One Potato, Two Potato...

Moving has provided me with a great deal of culinary inspiration. Perhaps it's because I'm practically destitute after all of the expenses incurred, or because I'm not quite familiar with the food shops in Hell's Kitchen, but either way, I've really been doing my best to make the most of what's in my kitchen before going food shopping. Perhaps my love of puzzles has played a part in helping me do so, but I've really been trying to think outside of my cooking comfort zone and make dishes that are unfamiliar to me. In addition to all that, I was able to flip through (and clean out) my recipe folder. You know that folder where you store all those magazine and newspaper recipes that torn out at the doctor's office or on the train? Well, mine runneth over, so in the interest of streamlining before the big move, I finally tried to clean it out. I of course (inevitably) just ended up rediscovering old recipes and book marking them once again, without really throwing much away.

One of the recipes that I came across (again) was a potato and anchovy salad that appeared in the New York Times dining section a few years ago. It caught my eye because as much as I love mayonnaise (and I really do), it's sometimes nice to have a lighter version of potato salad that won't spoil easily, especially in the summer. Also, I happen to love the highly undervalued and misunderstood anchovy and always have some on hand in my pantry. Since I already had all of the ingredients, I decided that this would make for a great light and fast dinner, and the leftovers would make for a nice lunch later in the week. Since this was going to be my main meal and not a side dish as the recipe was clearly intended to be, I changed a few of the measurements and ingredients to suit my needs (as always).

First, I doubled the amount of hard boiled eggs to 2 for added protein, and then added a bit more vinegar to make up for the added thickness of an extra egg yolk. The original recipe also called for 3 Tbsp of vegetable oil, which seems silly (and artery clogging) since this is essentially a dressing, so I replaced it with extra virgin olive oil. The recipe also seemed to be lacking color and a bit of spice, so I added a few chunks of chorizo, and a bit of paprika. I also wanted to add some kind of nutty flavor but didn't really want the texture of a nut, so I added a tiny drizzle of sesame oil. I finished the whole thing off with with a few grinds of black pepper and topped the dish with fresh scallions. It turned out great and made a lot of potato salad. The dressing was creamy but not overly rich or claggy, and the potatoes were firm and played nicely with the crunch of the scallions and the pillowy soft egg whites. Here's my version of that rediscovered recipe, which by the way, cooks up pretty quickly:

Potato Salad with Anchovy and Chorizo

4 red waxy potatoes, cut into eighths, (peeled or unpeeled, depending on your preference)
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 1/2 Tbsp vinegar (white, red, or champagne vinegar will do)
3 Tbsp sour cream
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 can (
2 ounces) anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup chorizo, chopped

1. Cook potatoes in a large pot of salted, boiling water until tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar and yolk from hard boiled eggs until smooth, followed by the sour cream and olive oil.

3. Finely chop egg whites and anchovies and add them to the egg yolk mixture along with chorizo, sesame oil, paprika and half of the scallions.

4. When the potatoes are cooked, add them to the egg yolk mixture. Season with black pepper and salt if necessary and fold everything together. Top with the remaining scallions and serve. Enjoy!

***I like serving this warm, but you can definitely refrigerate it for a cold potato salad.


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