The perfect combo: Recipe is both potato, pasta salad
July 4 is almost upon us, and it’s a time to celebrate our nation’s freedoms with friends and family.
This year, I’m taking a few extra days off to spend the week at our family cabin, and I’m excited to serve some of my favorite recipes.
When we have a large group, we try to keep meals simple because it’s tricky having different palates to please. We usually serve two large meals each day, breakfast and dinner, with serve-it-yourself meals for those who get hungry in between.
Our mini meals consist of sandwiches or grilled sausages, vegetable and fruit platters and a hearty salad. It seems easy enough, right?
Well, not quite....
Potato salad, commonly found on picnic tables across America, can come in many different forms and everyone has their own opinion as to how it should be prepared. The debates can be endless — with or without mustard, eggs, celery and onion. Everyone has an ingredient they feel is necessary to make this summer side complete. Then, add in the people who really just wanted a pasta salad instead.
My Lemony Greek Potato Salad is the perfect combination of potato salad and pasta salad. For the pasta lovers, it contains kalamata olives, grape tomato halves and a smooth and creamy lemon sauce. For potato lovers, tender boiled baby red potatoes. All of this is gently tossed together with feta cheese crumbles and fresh herbs. Both pasta lovers and potato lovers can finally come together and see eye to eye with this flavorful combination dish. Plus, this salad will keep great in the refrigerator for as long as three days, so it can keep daytime snackers happy all weekend long.
For large group dinners, I’ll stick with an easy, make-ahead theme and serving up thick cut, grilled steak and chicken breast for the nonsteak eaters. When my Dad/Grill Master is around, he takes control of watching the flames and I take care of the rest. To accompany his craftsmanship, I’ll be preparing a Balsamic, Caper & Herb Butter.
Yes, butter. My swimsuit might not like me for it, but my taste buds will.
I first learned of topping steak with butter when I was in culinary school. The chef instructors made a simple compound butter with garlic and parsley, and it was called Maitre D Butter. When we were shown how to make the perfect steak, they didn’t give us a recipe for steak seasoning, but instead, instructed us to simply season the meat with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
When you pull the meat off of the grill or out of the saute pan, let it rest for five minutes and then top it off with a tablespoon of the steak butter as you put it on the dinner plates. The flavorful butter melts over the top and trickles down the sides to form the perfect steak dipping “sauce.” This particularly fresh tasting blend of balsamic glaze, garlic, parsley and rosemary in rich and creamy butter is sure to make any backyard yard grillers fare taste like it came right out of your favorite steakhouse!
Lemony Greek Potato Salad
- 1 cup mayonnaise (I use one made with olive oil)
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 large lemon, juiced and zested
- 1 tablespoon oregano leaves, fresh chopped
- 3 tablespoons basil leaves, fresh chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 8 new red potatoes, about 2 inches in diameter, washed
- 1 cup grape tomato halves
- 12 kalamata olives, pitted and cut into thin strips
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
In a medium pot, cover potatoes in water, bring to boil over medium high heat and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the water and place in refrigerator to until chilled. Cut potatoes into 8 pieces. (in half and then into quarters to for small wedges) Set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, oregano leaves, basil leaves, kosher salt and pepper. (add more lemon if desired). Gently fold in potatoes, grape tomatoes, olive slices , and feta cheese crumbles. Chill until ready to serve. Serves 6.
Balsamic, Caper & Herb Butter
- ½ cup butter, unsalted and room temperature
- ½ cups parsley leaves, fresh
- ¼ cup rosemary leaves
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze (I use Gia Russa brand)
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. (about 2 minutes) Scrape down the bowl as needed. Remove butter from processing bowl, lay on plastic wrap and for into a log. Place in refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve. This will keep up to 3 days in refrigerator or up to 3 months in freezer.
Article written by Jessica Karley of the Forum News Service