Sunday, July 17, 2011

Warm Potato Salad with Cilantro and Toasted Cumin

I love potato salad. But I hate the potato salad most people love, thanks to my intense dislike of mayonnaise. So I usually substitute sour cream and yogurt for the mayonnaise, but I'm always on the lookout for new ways to make potato salad that don't involve anything creamy. This recipe from bears little resemblance to regular ole American potato salad, but its fantastic in its own way. And it's also a lot faster, since you don't have to chop up all the celery and pickles and such. I've adjusted the recipe to my taste a bit—I used a variety of fingerling potatoes instead of red potatoes, cut back on the olive oil and added a bit of vinegar and cayenne pepper for an extra kick.

2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 pounds red potatoes, chopped into roughly 2-inch pieces
1 bunch cilantro, stems trimmed and removed
3 large shallots
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons whole cumin
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
grated parmesan (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Add the diced potatoes and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are tender but not yet mush. Drain and return to the pot.
Chop the cilantro roughly and stir it into the hot potatoes. Slice the shallots thinly and stir them in too.
Pour the olive oil oil into a small skillet and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is quite hot, stir in the 1 1/2 tablespoons of whole cumin seeds. Cook for about 45 seconds, stirring frequently, until the cumin and oil smell toasty and the cumin has darkened slightly. Pour the contents of the skillet over the potatoes (watch out, as some of the seeds may pop as they hit the cooler pan). Stir thoroughly.
Juice the 1/2 lemon and stir the juice in as well. Season to taste with black pepper, and any additional salt, if needed. Spri
nkle with parmesan. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.