If you’ve followed this blog, you know of my deep-seated hatred for mayonnaise. I literally have to look away when I find myself at a place like Subway and the person in front of me orders mayo on their sub. Sometimes, the sandwich preparer will automatically pick up the squeeze bottle of mayonnaise when it’s my turn to pick out my condiments and I get a look of panic on my face, hands flying up into stop signs. Nooooooo! No mayo, please!
So, it’s safe to say that I am not a huge fan of the traditional summer salads, like chicken, potato and pasta. And it’s sometimes a shame because these things are everywhere, to the point where I often find myself side dish-less at summer parties and barbecues.
When I was about 9 years old, my stepmom (then just my dad’s girlfriend) asked if I would like some potato salad with my meal. I debated. Do I try this just to be polite since this could be my future stepmother? Certainly writhing in fear and disgust was not an appropriate reaction. But then, I peeked into the bowl she was pointing to. Hmm. It sure didn’t look like mayonnaise. It looked pretty good, really. So, I scooped some onto my plate.
And, I fell in love. This Greek-style potato salad quickly became one of my favorite side dishes. I don’t know that you can really refer to it as a “salad” but why not? My stepmother is also a first-generation Greek, but I had never seen this particular dish before growing up because of the differences in Greek regional cuisine. It has the same flavors, though, as those roasted potatoes everyone loves: lemon, olive oil, oregano. A trifecta of awesomeness.
This dish is best served at room temperature or just slightly warm, making it perfect for picnics, potlucks, and barbecues. It’s incredibly easy to throw together and it’s so, so tasty. This is one of the few dishes where I really enjoy raw onion (I love them cooked, but I have never been big on them raw). I do use a milder red onion, though. My stepmom doesn’t add parsley to this, and whether I add it or not depends on my laziness, but I do find it’s a good addition to sprinkle just a little on top for more freshness. I like lemon quite a bit so if you want a more muted flavor, just reduce the lemon juice by a little and add more olive oil.
Greek-Style Potato Salad
2 lbs. russet potatoes, cut into uniform pieces
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1/2 red onion, finely diced
salt and pepper to taste
parsley for garnish (optional)
Put your potatoes into a pot and add cold water. Bring the water to a boil, add some salt and then cook until the potatoes are just fork tender.
Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano and set aside. Allow the potatoes to cool just a bit (not too much as the dressing will be more absorbed when they are still warm). Mash the potatoes slightly and stir in the onions and salt and pepper. Add the dressing while stirring the potatoes, to be sure it gets everywhere. Adjust seasonings and serve at room temperature. Top with chopped parsley if desired.