Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Lebanese Potatoes

I was never too fond of potato salad growing up; the same goes for coleslaw and most macaroni salads. Often heavy with mayonnaise, I felt true flavors were hidden under a thick suffocating whiteness. I grew tired of finding a good, let alone perfect, potato salad, and my life of avoiding the tot began.

People accused me of being anti-carbohydrate. It simply is not so! I would proclaim. I love baked potatoes, bread, and most every carbohydrate there is. Then there was a jab that I was a food snob. Okay, maybe a bit. But it is when the wet white blanket covers my pure fare that I cringe and must walk away, head bowed low in a quiet, mournful state—that pastiness just sticks to my mouth too readily.

Being a frequenter of BBQs and returns to the Midwest does not help matters. Some sort of mayonnaise-based salad is always happy to make an appearance. It is not that I cannot give new foods a try, but I follow a mantra that the lesser the mayo the better.

One day, my good friend A showed me the light.

I sat at her aunt’s home for a wholesome Lebanese-American Thanksgiving. It was complete with hummus, flat bread, ful, turkey and a bowl of Lebanese potatoes. For once, I saw a potato salad where, surprise upon surprises, the potato shown through. One bite, and I pocketed this recipe with delight.

It is the lightness of the salad and ease of preparation that draws me back to this dish again and again. I have made it for others with the same promising accolades; it is simple and delicious. Below I have spruced it up by adding green peas. The brightness of these peas gave the red potatoes a sensational contrast. For those who are have fought off one too many mayonnaise dripping salads, now is your chance to bring the potato back to flavor.

Serving Size= 6-8 persons. Active time= 10 minutes. Inactive time= 2 hours.
* 8-10 small red new potatoes, washed and cut in half
* 1 bunch parsley, washed and chopped
* juice of 1-½ lemons
* 1 cup peas, lightly cooked (optional; not traditional, but good)
* 1 bunch scallions, chopped whites only
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 4 Tbl olive oil
* salt/ pepper to taste

1) In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Run cold water over to stop cooking and begin cool down.
2) In a medium sauté pan, flash-cook the peas with a small amount of water, about 4 minutes until peas turn dark green.
3) Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix well and refrigerate until cool, about 1-½ hours.

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