Saturday, July 12, 2014

Savory Sweet Potato Salad

Slap yo Momma, this is the BEST tater salad I've ever had!!!  I'm skipping ahead to my last submission for the recipe contest, since I'm still not 100% satisfied with how recipe #5 turned out.  It was a wine infused trout that I DID submit, and it was pretty good, but I think it's got some more adjustments to make to it before posting it on the blog.  I probably shouldn't of submitted it for the contest, but I wanted to get another entry in so I did anyways.  The recipe today though is for the most AH-MAZING potato salad you'll ever eat!  I actually didn't even intend on entering this one into the Away from Home cooking contest, but once I made it I realized it fit all the rules (except I did have to omit the pepper in the recipe entry because I had 11 ingredients instead of 10...hope it still turns out ok!), and it also was so amazing I knew I had to!  I made this for a "5th of July" shindig and everyone raved about it there as well ( wasn't just me that thought this sucker was good!).  Then most of them asked for the recipe too (good thing I wrote it down!).  The inspiration for this dish was the fact that while I love the concept of potato salad at a cookout, I typically am not too thrilled over most.  They're usually just so BORING.  They typically all have that "deli" taste to them- the mustard base with eggs and relish and maybe celery.  It never thrills me.  And I try and eat more sweet potatoes than white potatoes because sweet potatoes pretty much have 10 times the nutrients in them (yes...I made that statistic up...).  I also hate it when a potato salad is sweet (I know..."hate" is a strong word!), therefore, there's no sugar in my recipe!  I used all mayo (no sour cream...therefore no dairy...therefore my dairy-free friends can eat it too!), added lemon juice to bring out the flavor, used 2 types of onions (red and green) to give it a crunch (I really had no desire to add celery or relish), used fresh herbs (dill and thyme), seasoned with paprika (to give it a slight kick!), salt/pepper, and then I added bacon bits!!  BACON and fresh herbs make all the difference!  


The usual texture changes that typical potato salads have, I achieved by using the red onion, green onion, and bacon bits...and I didn't have to add the other "generic" stuff to it that I strongly dislike! (eggs, celery, relish...etc.).  (And side note- DON'T USE MIRACLE WHIP!!  It will NOT taste the same if you do!  Not to mention that stuff's just GROSS anyways.  Don't use it people.  Ever.  Just.  Don't.)  If you want to make an easy meal to impress and knock people off their feet with yummy goodness, this is the way to go!  You should know that it will take a few hours to make since the potatoes have to cook and cool COMPLETELY before adding the dressing to them, and THEN they have to sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together (the longer the better!).  So, give yourself a good 2-4 hours to prepare these.  When I add the dressing to the potatoes, I only add half of the mixture at first to make sure that the potatoes aren't swimming in the dressing.  I gently stir it (if you stir too hard you'll break apart the potatoes and make them mushy!) and then add more dressing as needed.  You may use all of it, you may not.  I only used 3/4 of the mixture.  Note: DON'T throw the leftover dressing away!  It'll make an awesome marinade for fish another night!  So, next time you decide to bring a potato salad to a get-together, try this one instead!  It's a guaranteed hit!  (And if it's not...or if it is!...leave me a comment below and let me know!) 


Savory Sweet Potato Salad
Serves: 8 
Prep and Cook Time: 2 hours (approximately)

2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 TBL fresh thyme, removed from stem
1 TBL fresh dill, chopped 
1/2 TBL kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika (plus 1/4 tsp for garnish)
1/4 tsp black pepper
Juice from 1/2 medium lemon
1 cup mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip!)
1/4 cup green onions (white part), thinly sliced
2 TBL green onion (green part), thinly sliced (for garnish)
1/2 medium red onion, diced
4 TBL Real Bacon Bits (from a 3 oz. package- NOT the bottled kind), OR use freshly cooked, crumbled bacon (PLUS 1/2 TBL for garnish)

1. Prepare sweet potatoes: Rinse and scrub potatoes, then use a peeler or a small knife to peel the skin off sweet potatoes.  Cut each potato in half, cut into cubes, and place in large pot.
2. Add water to pot of sweet potatoes; enough water to cover the potatoes (about 3/4 full).  Bring water to a boil.  Once boiling, boil sweet potatoes for 5-10 minutes, just until "fork tender" (tender enough to stick a fork in them with no resistance).  Drain and let cool completely (this could take 30 minutes-1 hour to fully cool).
3. While cooking and cooling sweet potatoes, chop and prepare all of the herbs and additional ingredients.  Add mayonnaise into a medium bowl along with the thyme, dill, salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp paprika, lemon juice, 1/4 cup green onion, red onion, and 4 TBL bacon bits.  Stir all ingredients together until well mixed.  If potatoes are not fully cooled yet, let mixture sit covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
4. Once sweet potatoes have fully cooled, add them to a large bowl along with half of the mayonnaise mixture.  Gently stir with a spoon, being careful not to over-mix as this will make the sweet potatoes break up and become "mushy".  Add more of the mayonnaise mixture as needed or desired.  You will want them to be well coated with the mixture, but not drenched in it (you may only use 3/4 of the mixture).  Save any remaining mayonnaise mixture for later use (it's great as a marinade for fish!)
5.  Let the sweet potato salad chill, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.  Once chilled, gently stir once more and garnish with the additional green onion, bacon, and paprika.

Bon Appetit,

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