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Potato salad is one

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of the easiest dishes to experiment on with

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different flavors.

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J

uly is when all the summertime activities start picking up and that includes picnics and cookouts. One of the most common staples you will see at any cookout is potato salad. You can probably ask 10 people how they make their potato salad and get pretty close to 10 different recipes. Potato salad is one of the easiest dishes to experiment on with different flavors. I am constantly saying to change the ingredients to fit your own taste buds and this dish is a great example of how to do that. Most of the recipes for potato salad will include mayonnaise, yogurt and sour cream, either by themselves or in some combination. But if you are in the mood for something different, use a simple oil and vinegar. Vinegar also is a common ingredient in most potato salads. It will bring out more of the other flavors while adding a tiny bite. The oil and vinegar can also incorporate different flavors to go with different ingredients. For a sweeter salad, use balsamic vinegar; while, for a more traditional one, I like to use either cider or rice vinegar. Use peanut oil, olive oil, vegetable oil or even sesame oil; the oil can add a lot of flavor, so think again of what flavors you want to bring out. As for the rest of the ingredients, things such as mustard, pickles, eggs, celery, onion, garlic and bacon are common additions. There also are many herbs that go great in a potato salad. Herbs such as parsley, thyme, rosemary, dill and my favorite, sweet basil, can all be used to complement your salad. There are so many other herbs and spices out there and a lot of them also will blend well. Spices such as curry,

nutmeg and star anise when used in the right proportion can really bring a great new flavor to your recipe. Just by adding or changing the herbs and spices, you can turn your own potato salad into a new dish. One summer at the Nantucket Yacht Club, the members wanted potato salad on the lunch menu all summer but asked if I could vary the recipe from time to time. I had a blast trying different concoctions. I made a new salad every couple of days and it kept it interesting for myself and the customers. I should have written at least some of them down but, again, it is the experimenting that makes it fun. I do remember one of the salads contained walnut oil, walnuts and freshly ground star anise. The kitchen staff looked on in horror until they tasted the end result. It came out awesome. It is just a matter of getting the right amounts of the various ingredients. Start with your base and add things slowly to make the dressing. Then add the dressing to the cooked potatoes a little at a time so you don’t make it a mush salad. I will use red potatoes 99 percent of the time for the simple reasons: I like that potato the best and it is easy to work with. However, it is a personal preference. This summer, experiment with your potato salad recipe and enjoy.  Smitty is a personal chef specializing in dinner parties, cooking classes and special events. Trained under Master Chef Anton Flory at Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vt., Smitty is known for his creative use of fresh ingredients. Contact him at tmmsmitty@gmail.com or (530) 412-3598. To read archived copies of Smitty’s column, visit chefsmitty.com or TheTahoeWeekly.com. Click on Chef’s Recipe under the Local Flavor tab.

POTATO SALAD

From the kitchen of: Chef David “Smitty” Smith (Use 2 average-sized potatoes for 3 people. This recipe serves 18.) 12 potatoes, cut in chunks of approximately the same size ¼ C mayonnaise ½ C sour cream 2 T cider or rice vinegar 2 T Dijon mustard 1 t Worcestershire sauce 3-4 celery sticks, diced 1/2 red onion, diced 1 jalapeño, fine diced 1 green onion, diced 2 T basil, chopped 1 t nutmeg Cook the potatoes in lightly salted water until just cooked through. Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl to taste. Toss all the dry ingredients together and then add three-quarters of wet ingredients, mix well and then add the rest until you get the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Try varying this by adding or subtracting other ingredients such as the eggs and/or bacon and other spices such as nutmeg or curry. To try adding spices, add just a little spice to a small amount of mixed wet ingredients and taste before adding to the full batch.

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July 5 to July 11, 2018  

Webber Falls, located north of Truckee on Highway 89, plunges 76 feet in several cascades into a deep gorge carved out of basaltic bedrock....

July 5 to July 11, 2018  

Webber Falls, located north of Truckee on Highway 89, plunges 76 feet in several cascades into a deep gorge carved out of basaltic bedrock....