Thursday, June 17, 2010


I…think I like this salad?

I’m not a potato salad fan, but I seem to have a continuing fascination with the non-mayo-based varieties. Mostly, I was entranced by the colorful photo accompanying this recipe in Cooking Light with its bounty of summer vegetables, particularly the holy trinity of corn, tomatoes, and zucchini. Even better, it’s a warm salad (I have a weird aversion to cold food sometimes); the potatoes are roasted until crisp and brown. So is the corn, which I was skeptical about at first (30 minutes? But corn kernels are so tiny!), and indeed the corn gets quite worryingly browned, but that actually makes it taste even better (as I discovered when I found myself compulsively snacking on the seemingly burnt corn detritus left behind on the baking sheet). However, the dressing: it really tested my growing tolerance for mustard (2 tablespoons is a lot), and I think there’s a reason that I hardly ever use tarragon—its licorice taste was strongly present here. So, on the plus side, this is a beautiful, healthy, fresh salad bursting with tasty vegetables and strong flavors…but I’m not sure I necessarily loved those flavors. A was enthusiastic, though, and the online reviews are all great so far, and I like that this is light enough for a side dish (we had it with prosciutto-and-basil-wrapped chicken, my go-to accompaniment for labor-intensive or unproven salads) but substantial enough for a vegetarian main, so I’ll probably make it again. I am tempted to cut back on the mustard slightly or swap in parsley or rosemary for the tarragon, but maybe that would be messing too much with what gives this salad its zest and zip. Is it time for me to learn to stop worrying and love tarragon?

1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
2 pounds fingerling potatoes (use a mix of red, purple, and yellow for maximum effect), cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup sliced red onion
¾ cup diced zucchini
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place corn and potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet (for easy cleanup—the corn tends to stick—I recommend coating the baking sheet with parchment or foil), drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, and toss to coat. Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and zucchini and cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

4. Combine tarragon and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add 1½ tablespoons oil, stirring constantly with a whisk.

5. Place potatoes and corn in a large bowl and drizzle with dressing while still warm; toss gently to coat. Add zucchini mixture and tomatoes and toss gently to combine.

Serves: 6
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: OK; can be eaten warm, at room temperature, or chilled

No comments: