Grilled Potato Salad with Herbs and Spices

Believe it or not, but this Grilled Potato Salad was inspired by Indian food:  stir fried potatoes with dill (not traditional but this is how Mom makes it), and cucumber raita; a simple yogurt sauce with a few spices and freshly shredded cucumber.  Those are just two examples of everyday Indian food, and they are really tasty. So, I started to think hey, potatoes go well with cumin and I just kept building from that point.  

In this recipe I coated red and yukon gold potatoes with olive oil, and grilled  them to develop a slightly charred taste, and meanwhile, I made a yogurt sauce with a few tablespoons of mayo, toasted cumin, a pinch of chili powder, rosemary, dill, parsley, lemon, and red onion. Traditional potato salads have a mayo base, but I really like the creamy texture and tangy flavor from yogurt. You can built all kinds of sauces and dressing with yogurt! If  you don't have all of these herbs, don't fret. Parsley is just fine. Or any other kind of herb, use your imagination. I simply used what was in my fridge, and you should do the same.  

Grilled Potato Salad with Herbs and Spices
Serves 4


2 medium size red potatoes
2 medium size Yukon gold potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil (ordinary, not extra virgin) 
1 cup fat free yogurt (low fat is my preferred choice, but fat free is what I had)
2 tablespoons fat free mayo* (see note)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped + extra for garnish
2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste


1.) Cut potatoes into two halves, and slice each half down to 1/4 inch thick slices.
2.) In a mixing bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil and start cooking on a grill pan over medium-high heat. 10 minutes on the first side, flip and grill and additional 5 minutes.

*Some slices will take less time than others so pull them off the grill and set them on a plate lined with paper towel to cool. 

For the yogurt sauce:

3.) Toast the cumin seeds in a small skillet over low heat for 2-3 minutes until you see a deeper brown color. Grind in a mortar pestle or spice grinder. 
4.) In a large mixing bowl add the yogurt, mayo, freshly ground cumin powder, red chili powder to your taste, red onion, parsley, rosemary, dill, fresh lemon juice, and pepper. Check for seasoning and decide if you would like salt, if you do, add it in at this point. 

5.) When the potatoes are light gold in color and soft to the touch they are done. You can allow them to completely cool, or you can proceed. (Leave a few pieces behind for garnish.) 

6.) Toss the potatoes in the yogurt sauce and garnish with parsley and reserved grilled potato slices. 

**NOTE**: Generally, fat free products have extra additives in them to compensate for the flavor that comes from full fat. I don't particularly suggest using fat free ingredients, but fat free mayo was purchased by mistake for this recipe. Low fat or full fat is much better, and it is healthier in a sense because you won't find any extra processors added. Go for low or full fat if you can; if you're using full fat mayo, moderation is key, and this recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons.    

Garnished with an over done slice of potato! ;-)


Broccoli Salad with Mustard-Tarragon Vinaigrette

Recently, I attended a potluck party where every one had to bring a dish to share. I noticed that the majority of the people were demolishing a particular glass bowl full of broccoli salad. I walked over to catch a glimpse of it, and goodness it looked amazing. And the taste was fabulous. It was creamy, sweet, and crunchy, but I had a modest portion of it because it was smothered in mayonnaise. Jeez, mayo makes everything taste better! And you shouldn't be afraid to use it. Still, remember the fact that mayonnaise is a full fat ingredient so if you were to use it you must use it in moderation. Luckily, a little bit often goes a long way. 

I thought I could shave down the calories by creating a new broccoli salad in my own kitchen that didn't sacrifice flavor. However, I didn't use a mayo base at all in this salad because I found such fresh herbs in my fridge; so I decided to stick to an extra virgin olive oil to play up the ingredients. The low fat mayo sauce I came up with is going to be used on a coleslaw, that'll be coming soon!

This broccoli salad is ridiculously simple to make. I kept it simple because I have found myself pressed for time more this semester, my final semester, than my previous years in school. So, you will be steaming broccoli in your microwave for 5 minutes, and during those 5 minutes you will be creating a zesty sauce with Dijon mustard, stone ground mustard, fresh tarragon, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and garlic. You'll also be toasting some almonds to top the salad with at the end. Broccoli is a very cooling vegetable, and mustard is bitter, and tarragon has a licorice note to it. So, if you feel the need to add a touch of honey or sugar to this go right ahead. I left it out because I liked the strong savory flavor. This is healthy, easy, inexpensive, and an excellent way to inject more veggies in your diet.

Broccoli Salad with Mustard-Tarragon Vinaigrette

Serves 5
I n g r e d i e n t s
1 pound broccoli florets, chopped to bite size pieces
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced                                                                           
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon tarragon, chopped
¼ cup almonds, coarsely chopped (or slivered almonds)

D i r e c t i o n s
1.) Rinse the broccoli florets with cold tap water, shake off the excess, and transfer to a large microwaveable bowl; preferably one made of glass.
2.) Microwave the florets partially covered with a lid for 7 minutes.
3.) Over a medium low heat, toast the almonds in a nonstick sauce pan until lightly bronzed, about 4 minutes. Keep your eye on it so they do not burn.
4.) Meanwhile, grab a medium size mixing bowl and whisk the oil, garlic, stone ground mustard, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper until it is one homogenous mixture. Gently stir in the tarragon; by doing this you avoid allowing the herb to bruise and turn black.
5.) When the broccoli florets are done steaming in the microwave add the scallions and toss everything in the vinaigrette and sprinkle over the toasted almonds.