BIERFEST POTATO SALAD
Oktoberfest is a fun celebration that actually began in Germany toward the end of September and ended the first Sunday in October. The first Oktoberfest was a very festive occasion that took place in 1810. If you have a yen for the juicy details, you can read about the grand historical and celebratory event at Vegetarians in Paradise.
For now, I content myself with the thought that the entire month of October brings such beautiful, freshly harvested foods to the market that I plan on incorporating them into some tantalizing dishes and partying all month long.
There are probably hundreds of ways to make potato salad. Traditionally, this age-old favorite party salad is dressed with mayo, a rather fatty ingredient. In an effort to reduce the fat content and still create an appealing potato salad with satisfying flavor, I ditched the mayo completely and turned to cider vinegar instead.
Sound weird? It’s actually a handy little trick I picked up many years ago. As soon as the potatoes are cooked and drained in a colander, I transfer them to a bowl and pour the apple cider vinegar over them. I toss gently with a wooden spoon to make sure all the potatoes get the cider bath. What takes place at that moment is that the cider vinegar gives the potatoes an instant infusion of a very pleasing tang.
Then, all the potato salad needs is a little salt and pepper, if you like, and some crunchy veggies. I decided to combine my end-of-the-summer tomatoes and bulbous bell peppers in a potato salad that would reflect the stunning harmony of the autumn season’s dazzling colors.
And, oh! I forgot one more little ingredient, tempeh bacon, that adds so much to the Octoberfest theme and to the overall flavor. The grand result is a gorgeous potato salad that’s also deliciously flavor-drenched.
The salad is also good keeper that can be made a day ahead or enjoyed as a leftover that still retains bright beauty and lusty flavor. One big cautionary note–don’t overcook the potatoes (like I sometimes do when I have too many things going at the same time!) or you’ll have mushy potato salad!
Yield: 5 to 6 servings
2 pounds Red or White Rose potatoes, scrubbed, cut into bite-size chunks
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
6 to 8 green onions, chopped
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh bacon, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste
1/4 bunch parsley, for garnish
1. Put the potatoes and onion in a 4-quart saucepan with water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and cover the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until just fork tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.
2. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a large bowl. While the potatoes are still hot, pour the vinegar into the bowl and toss well with a wooden spoon.
3. Add the cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, and tempeh and toss gently.
4. Add the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and adjust the seasonings to taste. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl and garnish with the parsley.