By Alison Steele
Spring can’t help but lure one out with its flowers and trees loaded with blossoms and birds. Finding an adventure in nature has been essential for relaxation now more than ever. With summer just around the corner, a picnic is the perfect way to extend your day outside relaxing in the sun. Whether you’re heading to the forest or the ocean (or your neighbor’s yard), it’s nice to know you’ll be able to stay and play longer with good food and drink at arm’s length.
Growing up in the Scots-Irish and German mountain South, potatoes were always on the table. We ate them hot, cold, boiled, baked, and fried. I still worship potatoes! They’re easy to grow and a gift to dig up. What a big surprise to see seven or eight huge potatoes hanging from one small center seed potato!
Nothing says picnic like this potato salad. You don’t have to worry about it spoiling in the sun. Plus, it’s great served warm or cold. Last but not least, it feeds the gut microbiome as well as the soul. Here’s my take on a good vinegary German potato salad, perfect for a long outing. Throw in some pickles from your pantry and slip some hard-boiled eggs in your leftover kraut brine and call it a day…a long, glorious day out-of-doors!
Picnic Potato Salad
12 medium red-skinned potatoes, with skins on, cooked and cooled just enough to handle
¼ c white onion, diced
2 long stalks celery sliced into thin half moons
½ c Egyptian walking onion, sliced thin
I c roughly chopped flat-leafed parsley, loosely packed
¼ c water
½ c sunflower oil
¼ c Grandma Juju’s Opal Basil vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
¼ t freshly ground white pepper
1 ½ t salt
½ c sauerkraut with a little brine
While potatoes are cooking, combine water, oil, and vinegar into a pint-sized mason jar. Chop the herbs and green onion and add them to the liquids along with the salt and pepper. Screw the lid on tight and give it a shake. Leave to infuse while chopping the white onion and celery.
Cut the potatoes in quarters and then down the middle creating eight big pieces. This is a chunky crunchy salad! Combine the potatoes, white onions, and celery with the vinegar, oil, and herb mixture in a large bowl. Start with half the dressing, adding more each time you taste. Gently scoop and turn the vegetables with the dressing. The potatoes should still be warm and sopping up all that flavor. I use the whole jar of vinaigrette, creating a sauce when eating it warm. If made the day before and left to marinate in the fridge overnight, you may only need ¾ of the dressing. Pack into a portable container and enjoy in nature.
And as always, use what’s in your garden. If you don’t have Egyptian walking onions use another green onion, garlic, or regular chives. Make your own infused vinegar. Try curly leafed parsley if that’s what you’re growing. It’s all about using what you have, experimenting, and having fun in the kitchen!
A native of Virginia, Alison Steele lives with her husband, two children, and cat in Boulder Creek where she raises quail, chickens, fruit trees, vegetables, and herbs. Alison plays banjo and sings in Sugar by the Pound.
Featured photo: Alison’s Picnic Potato Salad
Photo by Alison Steele