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Salads with Substance

Martha Stewart Living, June 2008

Potato salad may be a familiar part of almost every backyard cookout, but that doesn't mean this side has to be predictable. Whether you take your inspiration from the abundance of the season or classic food pairings, this summer staple has potential beyond the family favorite that everyone loves. These unexpected, crowd-pleasing renditions, drenched in a creamy dressing or an herb-flecked vinaigrette, can complement far more than just barbecue and are sure to exceed all expectations.

Recipes
Red Bliss Potato Salad with Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Chives
Roasted Fingerling and Tomato Salad with Green Beans and Arugula
Herbed Baby Potatoes with Lemon Vinaigrette
Potato Salad with Cipollini Onions, Olives, and Fennel

Warm-Weather Potato Glossary
The thin-skinned, freshly dug potatoes of summer showcase varying hues, rich tastes, and delicate yet substantial textures. They retain their shape during cooking, making them ideal for salads. To ensure maximum flavor, toss potatoes with dressing while they're still warm.

Yukon Gold
Golden and buttery, this all-purpose potato soared in popularity after its debut in 1980. Its thin skin and dense flesh work well in salads as well as mashes and gratins.

Red Potato
With pinkish-red skin and snow-white flesh, this readily available potato adds a vibrant touch to salads.

Purple Peruvian Fingerling
Originally cultivated in Peru, this potato is now commonly available in North America.

White Rose
This fair, all-purpose spud speckled with deep-set eyes doesn't store particularly well, so it's best used shortly after purchase.

Red Bliss
When young and small, this brick-red round is waxy and, hence, ideal for boiling. As it matures, its texture becomes sufficiently floury to bake.

Purple
Its faintly nutty flavor is almost as exotic as its deep jewel tone. Avoid overcooking to prevent the amethyst hue from fading to a dull gray.

Finnish Yellow
This hay-toned globe becomes so buttery and sweet when cooked that a simple dash of salt and pepper suffices to create a spectacular side. Also known as Yellow Finn and Dutch Yellow.

Round Baby Potato
This exceptionally tiny, perfectly round spud has nearly translucent skin and fine-textured firm flesh. Perfect for boiling.

French Fingerling
With its satiny texture and nutty flavor, this all-purpose potato is just as delicate as its fellow fingerlings, despite being larger. Its golden flesh is often streaked with wispy pink lines that match its blushing exterior. Suitable for roasting.

Ruby Crescent Fingerling
When sliced, this pink tuber reveals a ruby-red band that runs the length of its mustard-yellow flesh. Its earthy flavor is as appealing as the brilliant stripes it adds to salads.

Russian Banana Fingerling
Praised for its rich flavor, this slender, slightly curved spud is the most easily identifiable -- and perhaps readily available -- fingerling.