Enjoy Labour Day with Potato Salad and Corn!

Logan Niles

Labour Day speaks to true Summertime fare with BBQ, salads and sweet summer corn. Below you find some simple and fun ideas and the freedom to create your own dishes. Nothing too complex just enjoyable guidelines to help keep the work in the kitchen light and the long weekend relaxed.

yogurtpotatosalad 

Potato Salads

No need to get all gooped up with may this year. German style potato salads, yogurt based dressings and simple ingredients can turn your average dish into something fun and different. No need to much around with a blender either, just make a few additions to your favourite bottled dressing to add a little wow to the dish.

 

The Potato Salad Tips:

  • Any potato you have on hand will do, be it sweet, baking or red bliss. Well washed and simmered in salted water until cooked through but still firm. Cook a few days in advance for less work the day before your BBQ. Have more than one type on hand, make your salad colorful by combining varieties.
  • Give your salad some time to marinate, let those spuds soak up the flavour. Check your salad for salt and vinegar before serving, you may need to adjust at the last minute.
  • Once your spuds are boiled and cooled slice and pan fry for added texture and flavour before adding to your salad.
  • Spuds love citrus so play with adding both lime and lemon zest and juice to your salads.
  • Adding vinaigrette based dressings to warm potatoes helps the dressing absorb into your spuds.
  • Add some crunch! Last minute additions like diced peppers, shaved carrot or chopped water chestnuts add unexpected crunch and a nice departure from steadfast celery.
  • Add creaminess without the fat. Cook a few potatoes a little longer than the red, skin and puree along with your dressing of choice. The pureed potatoes will add body to your salad and lessen the amount of mayo you’ll need.
  • Make-your-own: who says you can’t have a make-you-own potato salad bar. Some chopped, crisp bacon, sliced, scallions, assorted veggies and condiments let guests make it their way when they dress up their burgers and dogs.
  • Add zip and zing: adding a touch of mustard adds a nice tang to salad. With so many types to choose from with herb-infused, stone ground and ethnic chutneys the sky’s the limit.
  • Don’t get stuck in a mayo rut. Thick, low-fat yogurt makes for a great dressing addition. Add all of part yogurt to lighten your salads.

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Sweet Summer Corn

What would Summer be without corn? Steams, boiled, first roasted or even eaten raw it’s no wonder this beloved staple of the BBQ is so well used. From golden yellow to two-toned “Peaches and Cream” you better take full advantage of some of the incredible end of Summer sales at places like No Frills before the season is gone and it’s back to frozen nibblettes.

 cornsalad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Corn Basics:

  • The sugar in corn quickly converts to starch as soon as it’s picked so the freshest corn you can get really will be the best since the older it is the more it will taste like feed.
  • Don’t just chuck the shuck! Corn silk and the tender centre leaves make a great soup stock filled with mellow corn flavour. If you’re not in the mood for making soup now, stuff the golden strands into a zip lock bag and store in the freezer, soup making weather is a stone’s throw away.
  • Want a fast, healthy snack? You don’t need to go to Little India for that amazing spicy corn. All you need is a gas stove/broiler, a nice spice mixture and a lime and you’re all set at a fraction of the price.
  • Need a crisp, refreshing salad that won’t wilt in the sun? Quick roasted corn cut from the cob and mixed with diced, peppers, red onion, kidney beans and a tangy citrus dressing will fit the bill nicely. Don’t forget the herbs, corn loves mixing it up with sage, rosemary, parsley, thyme, chives and basil just to name a few.
  • Speaking of herbs, compound butters make for a nice addition for hot corn on the cob. Puree softened butter with the herb(s) of your choosing and your ready to go. Make sure to let guests know if you’re using salted butter so they don’t add more salt then they need when seasoning their corn.
  • Just finished cutting the kernels from your roasted corn? Good, now save those cobs for your stock or use them to create a natural wrack under over roasted chicken.

 

South Indian Corn Spice Mix

2 tsp Cumin Seed, lightly roasted

4 tsp Garlic Powder

4 tsp Ancho Chili Powder

1 tsp Spanish Paprika

8 Tbs Kosher Salt

2 tsp Black Pepper

 

Optional:

2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (use only if you and your guests want some heat and adjust as needed)

 

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a spice grinder and grind until fine. Store in an airtight container until needed.
  2. While corn is still hot cut a lime into 1/4s and dip into spice mixture before rubbing along the length of the corn. Re-dip into the spices as needed.
  3. Spice mix can also be made into a compound butter with lime zest for a similar effect.