Potato salads, man. You know how people say something is greater than the sum of its parts? Potato salads are like the gluey opposite. Potatoes = magical. Mustard? Celery? Both winners. I don’t even mind mayonnaise. But all of them at once? Most of the time, that’s a recipe for disappointment.
I’d rather eat potatoes, mustard, and celery in succession, chased with a shot of mayo. (Ew–I know.)
This is why, whenever I’m at a barbecue and someone brings a potato salad that is something–anything–other than the standard, I very creepily want to be their friend forever. Dill and yogurt? Yes, you lovely genius. Red potatoes? UH HUH. German-style potato salad, warm and dressed simply with a generous splash of vinegar, fresh-cracked pepper and a bit of oil? Shhh my pet, let me just French braid your hair right now–we can wait until next weekend for the matching tattoos.
This is me trying to be my very own BBQBFF (It’s probably less weird that way).
Sweet potatoes, corn, crunchy red peppers and celery–they’re all great. But the magic here is miso. I’ve loved the stuff for a long time, but hadn’t bought it or really cooked with it until now. What. A. Revelation. It adds heaps of savory flavor–I’d call it umami, but I feel like The Very Worst when I say stuff like that, and I tend to aim for The Medium Worst most days. Anyhow, amigos: miso tastes mighty fine. Let’s put it in everything.
I charred the corn on a grill, but you don’t have to. Grilled corn is undoubtedly the best form of corn, but my original vision for this salad was one with grilled sweet potatoes, too. That ended poorly–grilling sweet potatoes never goes well unless you slice the potatoes pretty thin, so they can cook all the way through before burning to a crisp. It’s a delicate art.
I didn’t have that kind of time or that kind of grill real estate, you know? I just boiled some diced sweet potatoes instead–and I’d hate to tell you to do that AND fire up the grill if it’s not already sizzling away. So there’s that.
tl;dr: cook sweet potatoes and corn however you want, because the dressing is the most important part.
I hope I caught you in time for the height of summer eating–though truthfully, you could stick this recipe up your sleeve for year-round use. It’s heavy-duty like that… So let’s put it to work, shall we?
- 2 tablespoons yellow miso paste
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 cup minced shallot
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cubed
- 2 ears corn
- 1 red bell pepper, diced fine
- 2 stalks celery, diced fine
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for sprinkling on top
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine everything but the olive oil in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add sweet potato cubes. Cook until fork-tender (about 6-8 minutes). Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water--set aside to dry off.
- Meanwhile, cook the corn--I brushed mine with olive oil and cooked on a medium-hot grill, lid closed, for a few minutes per side until charred in spots and cooked through, about 15 minutes in total. If you don't feel like doing that, boiling it is just fine!
- Use a sharp knife to cut the corn kernels away from the ears. Place in a bowl and add the sweet potatoes, red pepper, celery, and parsley. Add about 2/3 of the dressing, toss gently, and season to taste with salt and pepper--add more dressing if you'd like. Serve sprinkled with additional parsley.