Sunday, May 26, 2013

Creamy Potato Salad with Roasted Pears, Cilantro and Romano Cheese for Picnic #SundaySupper


I've never liked Potato Salad

OK, there I said it.  And while it's practically un-American to admit, (especially seeing as today's Sunday Supper theme is all about picnic food), I'd much sooner reach for the pasta or fruit salad before I allowed some one-note, mushy white glob of potatoey goo take up a spot on my picnic plate.

But, how could it be?  When you think about it, Potato Salad has some of my very favorite ingredients... potatoes and mayonnaise.  So perhaps the problem doesn't lie in the potato, but in the putting together of it all.

So, my mission this week was to create a picnic-perfect Potato Salad.  And what I came up with, well, lets just say... move over hot dogs, chicken and steak, because this Potato Salad is taking center stage on my picnic plate.


Texture
First, I worked on texture.  To combat the mush, I added in some roasted pears which not only added some firmness to balance out the soft potatoes, but also added a lovely sweet surprise every few bites. The green onions and Romano cheese also added to the overall consistency.

Depth of Flavor
Next, I worked on adding layers of flavor... no more one-note salad here.  Using lemon juice and zest mixed with the champagne vinegar added zing to the mayonnaise dressing, while the Romano cheese balanced it out with a lovely richness.  And the sweetness of the pears worked nicely with the green onions, and the heat from the red pepper flakes, creating complimentary flavors without overpowering each other.

Freshness
Finally, I wanted to add more green.  Fresh herbs are the perfect way to dress up any dish, and the mix of fresh basil, parsley and cilantro added a clean essence to each and every bite.  And the lemon juice and zest added an enjoyable pungency.

And the result?  Mission accomplished. 

A creamy salad, rich in texture, depth of flavor and freshness, that pops with personality.


Creamy Potato Salad with Roasted Pears, Cilantro and Romano Cheese

3 pound bag baby red potatoes
1 c. mayonnaise
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 medium green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Crushed red pepper to taste
Zest of 1 lemon
2 pears, diced (keep skin on, I prefer Bartlett because the skin stays sweeter. And no need to be ripened since you're roasting them)
Olive oil
Romano cheese, cut into curls (I use a vegetable peeler)
Green onion slices for garnish
Salt and Pepper

Pierce potatoes with a fork and place in a stockpot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat, cover with a lid and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from water and set aside to cool.  While potatoes are cooking, place cut up pears on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender.  Once cool cut into cubes and place in large mixing bowl with the pears.

Then, in a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, green onions, herbs, crushed red pepper and lemon peel to make the dressing.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour over cooled potatoes and pears and gently stir to combine.  Top with Romano cheese curls and green onions.  Check again for seasoning.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Don't forget to check out what everyone else is bringing to the picnic... including wine pairings for all our dishes!

And a special thanks to Katy over at Happy Baking Days for hosting!

Salads and Slaws:



Sandwiches and Mains:



Desserts:

Drinks:


52 comments:

  1. I love how fresh and pretty your potato salad looks - and champagne vinegar is something I have to try :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Katy! I used champagne vinegar in a sauce once and I'm hooked now... love the flavor!

      Delete
  2. I'm raising my champagne glass to you, Diana. Your potato salad with the champagne vinegar, cilantro and fresh herbs does look and sound divine =) Congratulations on a challenging mission accomplished =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers back to you, Kim! Thanks for stopping by, and yay on the mission accomplished! ;-)

      Delete
  3. What a unique idea to add roasted pear. I will have to give this a try

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Laura! I love roasting pears because they come out perfectly sweet, and you don't have to wait for them to ripen!

      Delete
  4. Ok, so I am right there with you! I never have really liked potato salad. But now you have me curious to try this one out...sounds like you created something pretty awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Katie! I hope you enjoy it!! ;-)

      Delete
  5. I'm drooling at the thought of those pears! WOW!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jen! Your bacon ranch potato salad looked and sounded amazing too!

      Delete
  6. I don't like potato salad either, but its because I don't like mayo. I LOVE the roast pears in this though! How creative! The flavors here are just perfect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lauren! Next time I'm thinking of making my Champagne Vinegar, Dijon, Maple Syrup sauce to try on it... perfect for those that don't like mayo!

      Delete
  7. Great recipe! I love potato salad, but never would have thought to add cilantro. YUM!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A fellow cilantro lover here! It added a great flavor!

      Delete
  8. This looks AMAZING! I wold have never to put those flavors together but can't wait to try it now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amanda... it's so fun to try out new flavors- glad this one worked ;-)

      Delete
  9. Your dressing sounds phenomenal! And I love the idea of adding roasted pears...double yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Liz! It's so versatile... you could even add in some sour cream, or change out some of the mayo for Greek yogurt. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  10. What an amazing potato salad! I never thought to add pears to mine. I agree with you on the texture. I would devour this in a second.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've never liked potato salad either! For exactly the same reason...to much gobbledy gook! This potato salad though...this could be a game changer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol... gobbledy gook! The dressing is surprisingly light, and you could even reduce some of the mayo too ;-)

      Delete
  12. I confess I agree with you on potato salads, and really enjoyed the process you went through to make this such a strong side that it could become the main entree. I love the changes you made, including the pears and champagne vinegar !! Genius!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Susan! It was so hearty and full of flavors, it could easily satisfy as a main for those who don't eat meat! ;-)

      Delete
  13. Wow, roasted pears, you got me!! I am not a huge fan of just a plain potato salad, hubby loves them but I am always looking for more. This one would fit the bill for me!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! Thanks for stopping by, Tara, and hope you give it a try!

      Delete
  14. Its a new way to eat a delicious salad, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kathya! What a fun #SundaySupper! Loved your recipe too!!!

      Delete
  15. This is one of the best potato salads ever Di, so sophisticated and with great flavors!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Paula! You're the best, and coming from you, that means a lot! Hope you give it a try ;-)

      Delete
  16. What a gorgeous salad. I just love all the flavors together. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks Nicole! Super easy, and yummy! ;-)

      Delete
  17. Diana...you're killing me (in a good way of course). Your creativity is an inspiration to me. Great recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Martin!!! Brilliant wine pairings again this week, as always! And appreciate you stopping by!

      Delete
  18. Pears in potato salad? I would never, ever, in a million years think to do this. But I pretty much love it. For some reason, I NEVER make potato salad, even though I like eating it. It's one of those things that seems like too much work to me (even though I make dishes that are WAYYYYY more complicated). I'll have to get over my fear and make your recipe this summer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! Lori, you could be my twin... agree on all points! Hope you give it a try, and thanks for stopping by! ;-)

      Delete
  19. Now this sounds like a winner to me! I love that you added the Champagne vinegar. I am all about adding that little bit of acidity to the creamy mayonnaise. Plus, roasted Pears and fresh herbs...Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shannon! It ended up being a great mix of flavors! ;-)

      Delete
  20. OMG, LOVE the addition of the pears! Brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
  21. This potato salad looks amazing. I love all of the flavors. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jennie! Such a fun #SundaySupper this week!!! ;-)

      Delete
  22. Unlike you, potato salad is something I've always loved...in pretty much any form. So of course this includes yours - one gigantic scoop for me, please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome, Heather! Hope you give this version a try too ;-)

      Delete
  23. I've never tried champagne vinegar, but this salad looks so flavorful and delicious. Definitely a recipe to try this summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Isabel! Hope you enjoy!!! ;-)

      Delete
  24. Potato salad is one of my favorite staples for ANY picnic, BBQ or uhm.... meal. LOL
    This looks absolutely gorgeous and delicious and I'd love some right about now! Love the addition of the champagne vinegar!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol! Love it!!! Thanks for stopping by, Nicole!

      Delete
  25. What an interesting mix of flavors! I'm trying to imagine in my mind how the pears and potatoes are tasting together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Susan! It's so yummy... and yes, I guess I have the eternal sweet tooth ;-)

      Delete
  26. Such a delicious looking salad! Love the idea of roasting pears and the dressing sounds fantastic! Cannot wait to try :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. What a flavor, texture, and color combination in this potato salad. Nice to see fruit and fresh herbs with the potatoes.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to comment! It makes me smile :-)