Who would've thought to put blueberries in a potato salad? Not this gal. Fortunately, though, the blogosphere is filled with creative, talented people who do think to add blueberries to their potato salads. For this I am grateful.
Let me tell you about this salad.
First, purge all thoughts of the monochromatic, uni-textured potato salad you might find at the store or cheap barbecue joint. You know, the one with the so-uniform-they-had-to-have-been-cut-by-machine potatoes, the sauce (goo?) that mostly just tastes like mayo and/or boring yellow mustard, maybe with a few flecks of pickle relish for a hint of flavor variance. That potato salad has no place here.
Now, think instead of fresh new potatoes (you know, the little pretty ones with red skin) who get to spend just enough quality time with a grill to earn a lovely char and a subtle smoky flavor. Their rendezvous with the grill includes some hangout time with a couple scallions and, yes, blueberries. Now think of introducing these lovelies to a bowl, tossing them with an herby vinaigrette, and sprinkling the whole thing with pickled red onions and fresh mint.
That potato salad has a place here.
Grilled Potato Salad with Blueberries
Adapted from Love and Lemons
Yield: 4-6 servings
2 lbs. new potatoes or fingerling potatoes
Splash of vinegar (maybe 1 Tbsp.?)
Olive oil, for tossing
2 scallions (from the bunch listed below)
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
Pickled red onions (I used this recipe)
Handful of fresh mint leaves (about 1/4 cup), chopped or torn
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. white miso paste
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (or brown mustard or whole grain mustard)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
A sprinkle of cayenne (or 1 tsp. sriracha)
Small handful parsley or cilantro (about 1/4 cup)
1 bunch scallions (with two scallions reserved; see above)
Salt, to taste
1 Tbsp. (ish) of water, if needed
Quick pickle the red onion: If you don't already have a jar of picked red onion in your fridge, go ahead and make those. I think they're best if you do them in time for them to hang out overnight, but that's not necessary.
Prep the potatoes: Wash your potatoes. Cut larger ones in half and leave smaller ones whole. Add to a large pot of salted water, add a splash of vinegar,* and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for just 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes are just starting to be fork tender. They'll finish cooking on the grill. Remove from heat and drain well. Set aside
Grill the things: Preheat grill or grill pan to medium heat. Rinse your scallions and pat dry; toss or rub with olive oil. Toss potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Use foil to fashion a bowl/plate for your blueberries so you can place them on the grill without them falling through the grates; add blueberries to the foil "dish" and toss them with a bit of oil.
Grill scallions for a couple minutes on each side, until they've softened and have some grill marks. Once they're cool enough to handle, chop two of them to toss into the finished salad, and chop or mince the rest for the vinaigrette.
Add potatoes to the grill, cut side down. Let them cook for about 5 minutes, then turn them and grill for another 5 minutes or so. The goal is for the potatoes to be tender but not falling apart, and to have grill marks. Remove potatoes to your serving bowl. (While the potatoes grill, you can be cutting up your grilled scallions.)
Add the blueberries to the grill during the last 2-3 minutes of the potatoes' grilling time. Cook them just until they deepen in color and warm through.
Prepare the vinaigrette: Add all vinaigrette ingredients--miso paste, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, cayenne, parsley, scallions, and salt--to mini food processor** and blend until everything is pretty well minced and blended. You're aiming for texture similar to that of pesto. Add a splash of water or a bit more olive oil if needed.
Bring it all together: Toss grilled potatoes with about half the vinaigrette. Add the chopped scallions, blueberries, pickled red onions, and nearly all the fresh mint. Toss gently and just barely--enough for the smaller things to nestle down into the potatoes but not so much that all the little stuff falls to the bottom of the bowl. Drizzle or dollop more vinaigrette all over, and sprinkle the last bit of mint over the top. Serve warm or at room temp.
The above instructions are written for a scenario in which you do all of the prep and cooking in one session. I actually didn't do that, because I needed to prep the night before. My process went something like this: 1) Chop, boil, and drain the potatoes; refrigerate. 2) Use my grill pan on my stovetop to cook the vinaigrette scallions. 3) Make the vinaigrette; refrigerate. 4) Sleep; go to work the next day; go to friend's house in the evening. 5) Grill the potatoes, blueberries, and two remaining scallions on friend's grill. 6) Chop the mint. 7) Assemble, eat, share with friends, and rejoice. Also, I used pickled onions I already had in my fridge, but I could've prepped those the night before also.
*Boring ol' distilled white vinegar is all you need here. Adding a splash of vinegar to the water helps the potatoes retain their shape. Thanks to Serious Eats for this nugget of wisdom.
**I actually put everything in a mason jar and used my immersion blender (stick blender). A mini food processor probably would've worked better. And of course you could also mince and whisk everything by hand.