It's Picnic Time Again
Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer, especially around these parts. It usually signals bustling beaches, noisy nights, and portable picnics. This year will be different, though. Our world has been turned upside down and our future is unchartered. However, one of those signals can be our link to some normalcy…the unabashed picnic.
We may have to forego large gatherings this year, but we can still make all the great dishes we remember fondly. Actually, picnics can be had any time throughout the year. My family used to have June-in-January picnics fireside. We made fried chicken, corn on the cob, pickled eggs and red beets, and our favorite, Hunky Potato Salad.
Growing up, we always had this dish at our summer family get-togethers. Only recently did I discover that the term Hunky referred to the Slavik immigrants in my heritage. The term was considered an ethnic slur, but our family seemed to have made it their own, throwing away the negative connotations. It sounds a lot like what our LGTBQ family does as well—turning a negative into a positive and reclaiming our pride. This potato salad is best after it sits and the flavors meld together. Since there is no mayonnaise, it is a great dish for picnics as it can sit at room temperature without fear of spoiling.
Flavored vinegars and oils are the hot new thing in recent years. Since staying at home since March, I have found myself dabbling in new things that I have always been curious about. I made my own chive-flavored vinegar recently and it’s perfect for this recipe. The chives even came from my patio garden where I also have tarragon, mint, and thyme growing.
Potato salad is the favorite side dish for any picnic. There’s always enough to feed an army and every family has its own spin. Enjoy!
Hunky Potato Salad
3 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, halved, and sliced about ¼ inch slices
1 medium sweet onion, peeled, halved, and sliced thin
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup vinegar (white distilled, cider, or favorite flavored is fine) plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon water
1 tsp kosher salt and ½ tsp cracked black pepper, more to taste
Boil potatoes until tender but not falling apart. Drain potatoes well and while still warm, drizzle with about 1 tablespoon vinegar. Because the potatoes are warm, they really soak up the flavor of the vinegar.
Make vinaigrette with oil, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper. This is completely to taste and some may want more vinegar for a sharper bite, or more salt or more pepper. In a large bowl, mix vinaigrette with onions and add potatoes; combine well, being careful not to mash the potatoes. Taste and add additional seasoning or oil/vinegar as needed.
Eric W. Wahl is The Cook and the Gardener on Facebook.