Grilling: Jalapeño Potato Salad


Fire up your grill and get ready for some serious smoke.


[Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

I was never a big fan of potato salad, until I stumbled upon a grilled approach that ditched the bland mayo monotony for a group of fresh and powerful flavors. Ever since, I've been experimenting with other ways to rectify the sad state of the common potato salad and this is the latest incarnation: a tangy jalapeño version.

I started knowing I wanted to feature the jalapeño here, and made a dressing of Tex-Mex influence with sour cream, cider vinegar, and cumin to create a base I thought would be an apt pairing. Then I grilled some jalapeños to blacken and soften them a bit, followed by new potatoes, which cook up quite well over an open fire, with no need to pre-boil like larger varieties.

The dressing, jalapeños, potatoes, were tossed together along with green onions and cilantro, and let to sit for the flavors to meld for about half an hour.

Featuring the jalapeños was an understatement. I went a little pepper-crazy with the original salad and it was mega hot. I scaled back a lot in my final recipe. It was well dressed, without becoming a creamy mess, letting the crisp texture of the potatoes remain intact. The sour cream and vinegar had a nice tang that contrasted and slightly cooled the heat from the jalapeños. The cilantro and green onions were enough to add freshness and round out the entire dish without it becoming overly complex.

With a different and tastier approach to potato salad such as this, it's hard to understand why we're forced to suffer many injustices against this dish so frequently.