April 17th, 2011
It is starting to feel like Summer in Southern California and that means grilling! This weekend we dusted off the Weber and made Umami Burgers, but no grilling session is complete with out a few good sides, especially potato salad. This is one of our faves!
Compared to it's German or American cousins, Japanese potato salad is much more mild in flavor, primarily due to the absence of acid. Most German or American potato salads use vinegar or lemon, adding an overall acidic undertone to the dish's flavor profile. The addition of minced boiled egg contributes to the Japanese potato salad's rich creamy texture and chopped vegetables add a subtle sweetness.
I prefer Japanese or English cucumbers for this recipe. The skin of American or Garden cucumbers tends to be thick and bitter, not to mention that most are waxed to help retain moisture in order to prolong shelf-life. If you are not able to get your hands on Japanese or English cucumbers, just be sure to scrub and peel the skin. I like to partially peel the skin lengthwise to keep some green color in the final dish.
Japanese Potato Salad Recipe
3 (firm) medium boiling potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed
1 small carrot, unpeeled and scrubbed
1 cucumber (preferably Japanese or English variety), partially peeled and seeded, sliced very thin
1 small onion, sliced very thin
1 boiled egg, minced
Salt and fresh black pepper
3/4 to 1 cup of Japanese mayonnaise, or if on hand homemade mayonnaise
- Place pot of water on the stove to boil. While waiting, sprinkle sliced cucumber and onion (the thinner the better) with a few pinches of salt, and let sit (at least 10 minutes). The salt will help to extract the juices from the vegetables so that your Japanese potato salad will have a creamy texture. Give a firm squeeze to release any excess juices.
- Add potatoes to boiling water and cook until tender, using a skewer to check for doneness (you should be able to pierce completely through without resistance). Remove potatoes but be sure to keep water for cooking of carrot and egg.
- Add carrot and egg to boiling water, cooking carrot until tender and egg to a hard boil.
- While still hot, gently peel potatoes and carrot using a kitchen towel. Cut potatoes into small bite-size chunks. Slice carrot width-wise. While hot, toss with salt and pepper. Let cool.
- Peel hard boiled egg and mince.
- Once potato/carrot mixture has cooled to room temperature, gently mix in cucumber, onion, egg and mayonnaise. Cover with plastic wrap and cool for at least 1 hour in refrigerator.