Thursday, December 13, 2012

Potato Salad Bites

Our neighborhood hosts a Christmas Party each year.  Two residents open up their homes to everyone in the neighborhood.  It provides a nice opportunity to visit with neighbors you know and meet new neighbors you haven't met.  There is also a lot of great food and wine.

One of the reasons the food is good is that residents who attend bring a savory dish or a dessert.  And we have a lot of ladies who are talented in the kitchen!  The HOA provides the adult beverages.

The festivities begin at the home where the savory hors d'oeuvres are served.  After about two hours the party moves to the second home in the neighborhood where all of the sweeties are waiting for everyone.  Dessert wines and sparkling wines are added to the beverage selection.

This year I signed up for a savory hors d'oeuvre.  I found this recipe for bite sized potato salad starters in a holiday magazine/booklet that a co-worker gave me around 5 years ago.

Try to select potatoes that are of similar size.  Also, when selecting the potatoes, keep in mind the size; you want these to be bite-size.  I would suggest selecting a few extra because, well, it's inevitable that some will fall apart as you prepare them.

When you boil the potatoes, keep a close eye on them and cook only until they are done.  If you cook them too long or vigorously the skins will start to split pretty bad.  Some will split any way but don't wig out about it.  Be gentle when you halve the potato and scoop the meat out of the potato.  Once you have scooped the pulp out of the halves, lightly sprinkle each half with kosher salt.

Toss the potato pulp, onion, pickles, & parsley in a mixing bowl.  The original recipe called for pimiento-stuffed olives but I opted to use Claussen Kosher Dill Sandwich Slices.  I think these pickles have the best flavor and are easy to mince.

Speaking of mincing, the onion and parsley should be minced as well since the appetizers themselves are small.

I suggest combining the mayonnaise, mustard, and pepper in a small mixing bowl  before adding to the potato mixture.  Once the potato salad is combined, taste for seasoning.  Between the saltiness of the dill pickle and the Dijon I doubt you will need to add any salt; remember the potato halves are lightly salted already too.

I will say this about the recipe.  It's labor intensive and time consuming.  You probably don't want to include this on your menu if you are making multiple dishes for a get-together.  But, if this is the only thing you are preparing for an event it's well worth the effort.

Part of me feels bad about trying new recipes out on un-suspecting neighbors but it's a great way to know whether or not I would serve something again. 

This recipe is good cocktail party fare.  It proved to be one that people really liked; they disappeared quite nicely.

Potato Salad Bites
Yields about 32 appetizers
Adapted from a recipe by Stephanie Sheridan from Plainfield, Vermont

20 small red potatoes
salt for sprinkling
1/2 cup minced kosher dill pickles
4 tsp. minced fresh parsley
2 tsp. minced red onion
1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
2-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground pepper
extra minced parsley for garnish

Mise en place:
  • rinse potatoes off
  • mince pickles, parsley & onion and place in medium mixing bowl
  • measure mayonnaise, mustard and pepper into a small mixing bowl
  • mince extra parsley and set aside
  • prepare an ice bath of ice cubes and cold water
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10-12 minutes or until tender.  Drain and immediately place potatoes in ice water; drain and pat dry.

Peel 4 of the potatoes (pick out 4 that the skins split a lot; finely dice and place in the medium mixing bowl with the pickles, parsley & onion.  Cut the remaining potatoes in half.  With a melon baller, gently scoop out the pulp, leaving a 3/8" shell and toss in with the other potatoes; set shells aside.  Toss the potatoe pulp lightly with the onion mixture; this will break up the rest of the potatoes.  Gently stir the mayonnaise mixture into the potato mixture combining well.

Sprinkle the potato shells with salt; stuff with potato salad.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.  Garnish with the extra parsley if desired.

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