Grilled (and then chilled) potato salad, or, “How to Accessorize a Meatfest.”

It’s been oppressive-hot around here, and I have not felt like writing these past few days. We continue to eat, but the act of balancing hot computer on lap has been less than appealing. But then Nick started playing video games for hours on end, so a retreat to the bedroom (to Nick’s non-laptop computer) was in order.

Yesterday was one of those half-naked, stand-by-your-fan kind of days, and though I promised Grace a meatfest, I wasn’t able to deliver it in my apartment. Slow-cooking heats 600 square feet remarkably quickly, and as Canadian Tire was out of big fans, we’re currently operating with just the one. So I made the food, and transported it to Grace’s, who’s apartment was much more temperate.

But one should not make a meal of meat alone. No. I made the ribs that I wrote about before, except that I used pork side ribs this time, and the result was even better. (Also, I noticed that I screwed up typing the recipe for the barbecue sauce, so I’ve now fixed it. Oops. Sorry.) Last week I went to Costco, and confronted by two sets of meat, back ribs and side ribs, side by side, I couldn’t decide what was better. The side ribs worked out well – very meaty. Was pleased. I couldn’t make the full amount, because when I finally got most of these defrosted, the bottom rack was still frozen. Good thing: I don’t have an oven big enough to cook that much meat.

SDC10498Anyway, I decided that we really ought to have a summer salad as well, and maybe something with potatoes – I found some lovely new and purple potatoes at the market that morning. Of course, it was intolerable inside and I certainly did not want to hang out over a pot on the stove, so I decided to grill the potatoes. Every recipe I found for grilled potato salad sounded very good, but it was all for warm potato salad, which was really not appealing. Here is my alternative:

Grilled Potato Salad with Tarragon Aoili

  • 4 cups grilled chopped potatoes
  • 1 cup grilled asparagus, chopped
  • 1 cup grilled green beans, chopped
  • 2 cups whole grape tomatoes
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped

As mentioned, you’ll want your vegetables to be grilled and then chopped. Except for the tomatoes. Keep them fresh and raw for a delightful pop. Once your vegetables come off the grill, allow them to cool for awhile, until you can handle them comfortably. Make sure to parboil your potatoes before grilling: Give them six to eight minutes in boiling water, or until they’re almost done. Fry the bacon. But don’t stand over the stove-top too long.

cooling veggies

Aoili:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil (use good stuff. Or use grapeseed oil. Hell, you could even use canola – it doesn’t matter. Use what you like.)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh tarragon

Blend the egg, garlic, mustard, zest, salt, and pepper in a food processor until the garlic has broken down and is in tiny little pieces that you can’t quite see. Slowly pour in the oil (while the blade is in motion). This will produce mayonnaise, which is awesome. Dribble in the lemon juice, and add the tarragon, continuing to process until the herb has been destroyed and thoroughly integrated.

This will make more aioli than is necessary for the salad, but that’s good news. You can use the rest on vegetables, or spread it on sandwiches. Either way, don’t use it all, and don’t throw it out either.

Toss the veggies and bacon with the dressing, as much or as little as you like, and return it to the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Let those flavours sink in!

Serve cold, with meat.

potato saladAnd then we went to Grace’s. And Grace took lovely pictures of the food. She has photography skills.

A plate of ribs in flattering yellow light.
A plate of ribs in flattering yellow light.
Another shot of food in flattering yellow light. Grace has good lighting. I look much better there.
Another shot of food in flattering yellow light. Grace has good lighting. I look much better there.
And now, the eating process in three slides.
And now, the eating process in three slides.
SPEED!
SPEED!
I like how you can see me in the side of this shot, nerding out and taking my own photos of the food. Fail?
I like how you can see me in the side of this shot, nerding out and taking my own photos of the food. Fail?

The result was a delicious feast that I was pleased to have endured a day of heat to make, all things said and done. Grace made margaritas, and we drank wines. And then Grace produced a rhubarb shortcake with whipped cream that was all sorts of revelatory, and I learned that rosemary and rhubarb are a magical pairing that I would like more of. Possibly every day. Holy crap. I wish there was a photo. And with that, I now must figure out how to feed myself while wearing almost nothing and not turning on the stove, as despite the cloud cover, it’s still very warm. Goodbye, for now.

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