Food writer Judith Hausman shares her recipe for an unusual potato salad, the theme of which echoes the festive long weekend.
Whether the picnic is for the July 4 fireworks displays at Westport's Compo Beach or Rowayton's Bayley Beach, I've got the patriotic desserts part of the menu covered with strawberry and blueberry concoctions, such as berry shortcakes and "stars and stripes" berry-covered cake. But I wanted to puzzle out a tricolored solution for that must-have, ever-popular potato salad as well.
The season's garden bounty was staring me in the face at the New Canaan Farmers' Market. And that's when my "Eureka" moment came. For the "white" section, I'd hold the potatoes and instead roast the beautiful, young turnips. For the "red," I selected a healthy bunch of dewy ruby beets to roast. And a pint of blueberries would perfectly enhance my "blue" section.
The trick is not to muddle the colors by over-mixing. Wrap the beets and the turnips individually in foil (reserve the greens for another dish). Set the oven at 350 degrees and roast the vegetables for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on their size, until they are soft when pierced with a knife. After they cool, the beet skins will slip off. The small turnips need not be peeled.
Trim and cube each of these, keeping them separate until the last moment. Then, dress with a simple vinaigrette (olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and maybe a little mustard to emulsify it all).
I couldn't resist adding a little chopped tarragon, even though the color wasn't right. Wash and pat dry the blues. Now, just before serving, gently layer the three elements, tossing at the table to ensure the colors don't bleed. Cue the brass band and the fireworks- and enjoy your red, white and blue un-potato salad!
You can read more of Judith Hausman's work at The Hungry Locavore .