Curious Cook: Hopelessly devoted to spuds


“Warts and all.”

When I write a column that’s what I give you. Good or bad, embarrassing or not, you get it all.

Just sayin’.

On an unrelated note, if my house caught on fire and I had to choose between my wedding album and a bowl of freshly made potato salad, I’d be sitting on the curb stuffing my face, waiting for the fire department to arrive.

I just love it. I love the taste, the smell of it, I love the way it’s the perfect couch food and goes with any TV show or movie. I even love the sound it makes when you stir it.

I always thought that when I said I could live on it for the rest of my life, it was hyperbole.


I have many different recipes for potato salad.

Protein? Salads with egg or bacon … or both.

Vegetables? I have recipes with veggies — and not just onion.

Bad day? Any version, the more the better.

My new recipe, the power bowl, came from recent experiments with lemon and horseradish, and a trip to the Asian grocer near me. If you’ve never shopped at one, go. The produce department will thrill and delight. Lots of interesting, unfamiliar veg, and all of it gorgeous, inexpensive, and fresh, fresh, fresh.

Anyway, I bought some baby bok choy that I roasted as a side dish for a meal with The Kid, and some baby Chinese broccoli that inspired this new potato salad.

The other potato salad is my basic “I need some potato salad” salad.

The name comes from when I made it for our family friends, Chef Chrissie and his parents, Mama Cat and Bear. When I was putting it together, Chrissie looked over my shoulder and said, “it’s kind of passive, isn’t it?”

I know that by “passive” he meant boring. So, I kept quiet (I know, I was shocked too, quiet hardly ever happens with me) and let my spuds do my talking.

Everybody loved it, and Bear said it was the best potato salad he ever had. I added the aggressive in the name ’cause I think it’s funny.

And I actually couldn’t live on potato salad alone.

I’d need regular infusions of heavily frosted birthday cake.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at

*Warning: I am not a dietitian. This column is for recipe and humor purposes only. Do not take it as dietary advice, because it would probably end badly.

Potato Salad Power Bowl


1 cup mayonnaise

Juice of 1 lemon

1-2 tablespoons horseradish

Pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper to taste


3 pounds waxy potatoes, such as red skin or Yukon Gold

Large bunch of baby Chinese broccoli or broccolini

1 medium-sized shallot, diced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Whisk together dressing ingredients and taste for seasoning. Re-season if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Place unpeeled whole potatoes into a large pot filled with heavily salted water. Cook at medium until the potatoes are fork-tender (about 45 minutes). Drain into colander and allow to cool completely.

While the spuds are cooling, blanch and shock green veg. Put a large pot of heavily salted water on to boil.

Wash broc and cut into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces, discarding the very end pieces.

When water comes to a boil place the veg into it, reducing heat to medium-high. Let it cook for about 4-5 minutes.

While the veg is cooking, fill a large bowl with ice water and a tablespoon of salt. Then remove the broc from the water with a slotted spoon, and immediately plunge into the ice water. This stops the cooking and sets the color. The finished product should be cooked, but still very crunchy. Drain.

When the potatoes are completely cool (cooling completely sets the starch so the dressing coats and stirring doesn’t break up the spuds), peel and cut into salad-sized chunks. Place into large bowl, add a pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper. Pour 1 tablespoon oil over potatoes and gently toss until coated.

Add veg and shallots to bowl with potatoes. Add about half the dressing and fold in, adding more dressing as needed.

Cover and let sit at room temp for 30-ish minutes. Before service, pour the rest of the oil over and gently toss.

Serves four to six as a side, or me.

Passive-Aggressive Potato Salad

3 pounds waxy potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut up as before except peel and cut when they’re still pretty warm, but cool enough to handle

Juice of half a lemon

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 small yellow onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon dry dill, or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped very finely

1 cup of mayonnaise, more or less

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the prepared potatoes into a large bowl while they’re still pretty warm. Add lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat. Let them cool completely.

When the potatoes are cool, add onions and dill. Add the mayo a bit at a time, until it’s mixed and everything’s coated. Check for seasoning and re-season, if needed.

Cover and let sit at room temp for 30-ish minutes. Before service, drizzle the last of the oil on and fold together.

Serves 4-6 as a side, or me.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here