I sit here writing this under a torrent of hailstones thrashing at my windows, but my will is strong. Spring is coming, and with it sunshine, blue skies and soft breezes. It may seem like the boat scene from the 2012 movie at present, but I have faith that Spring is JUST AROUND THE CORNER.
Rule number one of Spring – when the sun comes out, lunch moves outdoors. There are few pleasures in life as cheap or as simple as eating a meal with the sun on your face (or burning the back of your neck thanks to your pale milk bottle white skin genes), and you better have plans to match that idyllic weather with food to match.
Enter the salad!
I’ll be posting a lot of different salady type dishes through the Spring and Summer, and to start off I thought I’d share one of my favourites – the creamy lime and pepper potato salad. This isn’t the type of potato salad that you used to have at school…..this is a tangy and peppery mixture that will compliment meat, fish or roasted vegetables – and will certainly go well with the sun.
I used ready made ‘mustard mayo’ from the supermarket in this salad, but if you don’t like mustard then you can use regular or reduced fat mayo.
I’ve made this as a side-dish, but with the addition of fried bacon bits, a tin of tuna or a grilled chicken breast it can easily be a full meal – and it can be made hours ahead of when you’re going to serve it, which gives you more time to grill some meat on the barbecue, have a glass of wine or just sit in the sun. Just try not to burn.
Simple, tangy potato salad with a hint of spice
- Potatoes - 300g ('salad' potatoes, like Charlotte - it will say on the bag or ask the grocer)
- Onion - Half an onion (red or white), diced
- Red pepper - Half of a red pepper, diced
- Mayonnaise - 1 tbsp (I use mustard mayo, normal or reduced fat is fine)
- Creme fraiche - 2 tbsp (You can also use sour cream)
- Lime juice - 2 tbsp
- Thyme - 0.5 tsp (dried thyme from a little pot, if you have fresh then double the amount)
- White pepper - 1 tsp (ground)
- Salt - 0.5 tsp
Potato salad is really simple - you cut up the potatoes, boil for 10 minutes, drain, cool, mix with your other ingredients and put in the fridge. Bingo! Oh you want more? Ok well...here's the step-by-step version:
- Peel your potatoes (if you haven't got one of those 'razor' style ceramic peelers yet you are wasting your life - they're cheap (less than £5) and make peeling anything easy and fast. Chop into cubes around 1cm in size. As you're cutting the potatoes, put them into a large bowl of cold water. This helps get rid of the starch and makes your salad a little less mushy
- Once you're finished with cutting, drain the starchy water and put your cut potatoes into a pan of water on your hob (remember to leave an inch or two of space between the water and the top of the pan or you'll risk water boiling over everywhere. Heat on maximum until they boil, then reduce the heat to 40% and leave them to simmer for 10 minutes
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Chop your onion into small cubes (as small as you can), and do the same with your red pepper
- Add the mayonnaise, lime juice and creme fraiche (or sour cream) to a big bowl and mix together. Add the thyme, white pepper and salt and mix them in, then add the onion and peppers and stir it all together
- The potatoes should be cooked now, so remove them from the heat and drain the water away. I like to leave the potatoes for 10 minutes in order to let them harden up a little (I don't like mushy potato salad)
- After they've cooled down, put them into your big bowl of creamy pepper goodness and stir it together, coating the potatoes thoroughly
- Spoon the salad into the dish you're going to serve them in and stick it in the fridge. Done!
- You can leave this salad in the fridge for as long as three hours before eating, and it will just get slightly thicker while it's in there
- Serve as a side with anything from the barbecue, quesadillas or alone as a light lunchtime snack