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Recipe Wed Jul 11 2007

Mayo Hater Potato Salad

"My informal research shows that there are lots of guys like me. There must be hundreds of mayonnaise-adverse men who are being ignored by the picnic side dish industry," says my husband the ad guy.

While I have no distaste for the classic condiment, I do think that any dish destined for an outdoor event ought to avoid the stuff. A mayo-based salad of any kind baking in the sun is just asking for trouble. So, I thought I'd share the recipe I came up with to appease both my hubby and any other folks who may share his mayo-hatah solidarity.

Mayo Hater Potato Salad

2 lbs small red potatoes
1 T Dijon mustard*
2 T cider vinegar
3 T olive oil
½ c loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 small red bell pepper, small dice
1 green onion, green & white parts, chopped
2 stalks celery, small dice
2-3 T red onion, very small dice
Salt & pepper to taste

Bring half a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
Add potatoes. Boil for 20-25 min until just tender.
Drain and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together mustard and cider vinegar.
Slowly whisk in olive oil. It should emulsify into a thick dressing. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
(I usually start with about 8 turns of pepper mill and 2 pinches salt.)
Rough chop cilantro and mix into vinaigrette.
Add red pepper, green onion, celery, and red onion and stir to coat.

Once potatoes are cool, cut into eighths or small pieces.
Add potatoes to bowl and gently toss with vegetables and dressing mixture.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.

Cover and chill for about an hour before serving.

Makes about 4 side dish servings.

* Substitute a sweet/hot mustard or honey mustard for a different flavor.


rdb66 / July 12, 2007 10:17 AM

Hey, there are plenty of health- and taste-related reasons to avoid mayonnaise, but this myth that mayonnaise is the CAUSE of picnic food poisoning must be stamped out. Read this:

Mayo in and of itself is not a good bacterial growth medium. Commercially-produced mayo uses pasteurized (sterlized) eggs and an acid like vinegar. Therefore, mayo may actually RETARD the growth of bacteria in foods.

The problem is the OTHER stuff mixed in with the mayo--potatoes, eggs, green onions and so on can be a source of bacteria, provide things bacteria want to eat (e.g., the starch in potatoes) and neutalize the acidic quality of the mayo itself.

The biggest sources of food contamination are cross-contamination from risky ingredients (e.g., raw meat and poultry) and contamination by the food preparer himself. Wash your hands thoroughly after you poop!

Finally, ANY food, mayo-containing or not, will grow more bacteria the longer it is kept at room temperature or above. Therefore all picnic foods represent some risk if they are not kept as cool as possible before and during serving.

Winediva / July 12, 2007 10:55 AM

A solid reminder on food safety outdoors. Thanks for your comment.

I guess I forget that most folks use commercially prepared mayo, where I tend to make my own. And it's really the raw eggs that are the concern in that scenario. As far as that goes, its a wonder anything could grow amongst Miracle Whip - nasty stuff - but any food can be a problem under the perfect storm of circumstances.

It is definitely a good idea to monitor food temps and exposure times in any buffet situation, inside or al fresco.

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