Thursday, August 9, 2012

Best Side Dish for Alfresco Dining: It’s Gotta Be Potato Salad

If my cooking and catering background has taught me anything, it’s that summer represents two golden opportunities: (1) to do a lot of alfresco dining and (2) trade plenty of recipes, which summertime makes easy because it brings so many interesting people to the table. You may entertain an exchange student, somebody’s sweetheart or a visiting relative; these friends have different ways of preparing recipes you grew up with.  It’s always such a pleasant surprise to see colorful new versions of one of your family favorites at a pot luck or BBQ—“oh, you make it THAT way? Hmmm. I never thought of substituting that particular ingredient. Does going the extra mile make that much of a difference?”  Questions like these are really fun to pose between forkfuls, because the taste almost always gives you your answer.

When I began contemplating the best recipes for alfresco dining, I have to say that the first thing that came to mind was Greek Salad; simple, light and refreshing—yet somehow fulfilling enough to serve as a whole entrée, it’s a no brainer—but it’s just not universally loved enough. However, the bed of potato salad that is so often found at the bottom of a Greek Salad is, so I asked around for different takes on good old potato salad, and sampled—near pool sides, under Sycamore trees and on mountainside picnics—versions that ran a gambit of color from pink and red, to yellow, to flecked with the bright green of chives and dill.
It was the RomanianPotato Salad that intrigued me the most; I got the recipe from a friend of a friend who has traveled a good deal in Eastern Europe. Served to me straight out of the refrigerator, its coldness was the perfect complement to its ingredients and the mercury bursting temperatures outside. I loved the beets in it, and the way the sour cream melded with those and kidney beans to make the whole thing look so pink and creamy.  I made a note to serve it at my next Valentine’s Day luncheon, but hope to dish it up long before that; in the few steamy weeks of summer we have left, it’d be a cool and creamy reprieve.

Let me know what your favorite dish to fiddle with is, and I’ll post it to my blog. Do you have a killer roasted corn recipe, like to make bright purple coleslaw, or something else that’s incredibly out of the ordinary, yet supremely delicious? The hungry public wants to know—because we’re all looking for fresh ideas as well as refreshments on our next trip down the buffet line.
Hope to hear from you before the big Labor Day feast : )

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails