Potato salad, in one form or another, has consistently graced every holiday table in my home since birth with the season being the only real modifier to the preparation and ingredients used.
Boiled and cubed or mashed skin on or off, perhaps roasted for something a little more offbeat. Serve this salad mixed with a variety of crunchy vegetables, or leave the potatoes in a near solitary state, save for the dressing of salt, vinegar, and oil or coated with creamy mayonnaise and a hint of mustard. The options for such a classic dish are seemingly endless once creativity is allowed to take hold!
My kitchen has the influence of Portugal in it because of my location. This country has taught me a few new ways to prepare potatoes that I had never tried before such as Portuguese punched potatoes. These potatoes are roasted whole, “punched down”, dressed with a bit of olive oil salt and other herbs and seasonings, then returned to the oven where they are allowed to crisp around the edges while simultaneously becoming soft and infused with flavor. This makes them ideal for any cool weather spread.
This preparation allows the potatoes to speak for themselves but is confident enough in its flavor to easily be accompanied with bites of crisp sweet red peppers and a smattering of briny green olives. A healthy dressing of creamy yogurt, infused with balsamic vinegar, and a light herby punch of chives is just right to finish it off.
The best part of this particular potato salad? It’s something that can be prepared the day before, roasted while cooking something else on top of the stove, or can be done winter or summer!
Punched Potato Salad
small red potatoes
Portuguese or Spanish olives
red bell pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Clean the potatoes well under water to remove any dirt or debris.
Using a fork, perforate the outside the outside of the potatoes on all sides.
Put the prepared potatoes on the baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the skin has wrinkled a bit and a fork can slide into the potato easily.
On a cutting board remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper and cut it into thin slices. Peel the shallot and cut it into thin slice. Peel the garlic cloves and mince them.
Whisk the yogurt, balsamic vinegar, olives, olive oil, and chives together in a medium sized bowl. Cover and set aside.
Check the potatoes for doneness and remove them from the oven. Let them cool just enough to touch.
Take another clean kitchen towel and put it on top of the potatoes and push down on each one to “punch” them.
Transfer the punched potatoes to a bowl. Add the olive oil, shallot, and garlic to the bowl and toss to coat the potatoes. Return them to the baking sheet.
Put the potatoes back into the oven and allow them to cook for 15-20 more minutes, or until the skin has crisped and browned a bit.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and transfer them to a large bowl.
Add the bell pepper and olive yogurt dressing to the bowl and stir well to combine.
Serve warm or chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
STEP ONE – PREHEAT OVEN AND CLEAN POTATOES
Preheat the oven to 400F with the rack set to the middle. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Rinse the potatoes under cool water and scrub the outside if necessary to remove any dirt or debris.
STEP TWO – POKE HOLES IN THE POTATOES
Hold a potato one on hand and, using a fork, poke holes around the outside of the potato. Repeat with all the potatoes.
STEP THREE – BAKE THE POTATOES
Place the potatoes on the lined baking sheet and allow them to cook 20-30 minutes.
They are ready when a fork will easily slide into the potato and the skin on the outside has become wrinkled on the outside but not browned.
STEP FOUR – PREPARE PEPPER, SHALLOT, AND GARLIC
Lay the pepper on a cutting board and cut off the stem. Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds and the white pith before slicing it into thin strips. Peel the shallot and garlic and cut off the root end of each. Slice the shallot into thin rounds and mince the garlic.
STEP FIVE – MAKE THE DRESSING
Put the yogurt into a bowl along with the balsamic vinegar, olives, olive oil, and chives. Stir well to combine.
Cover and set the bowl to the side.
STEP SIX – REMOVE POTATOES FROM OVEN
When the potatoes are done remove them from the oven and transfer them to a cutting board with a clean kitchen towel on it. Allow them to cool just enough to be able to touch. Do not turn off the oven.
STEP SEVEN – PUNCH POTATOES
Using another clean towel, lay it on top of a potato and press down. It should pop open. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes.
STEP EIGHT – DRESS POTATOES
Once the potatoes have all been “punched” transfer them to a large bowl and drizzle olive oil on top. Add the sliced shallot, minced garlic, coarse salt and toss them all together to coat the outside of the potatoes well.
STEP NINE – BAKE POTATOES FOR SECOND TIME
Place the dressed potatoes back on the baking sheet and put them back into the oven and let them bake another 15-20 minutes. They are ready when the skin has crisped up and has turned golden brown.
STEP TEN – REMOVE POTATOES
Take the potatoes out of the oven when they are done and transfer them to a large bowl.
STEP ELEVEN – MIX POTATO SALAD
Add the pepper and any crispy, but not burnt, bits of shallot and garlic to the bowl with the potatoes. Pour the dressing on top and stir well to coat the potatoes with it and evenly distribute all the ingredients.
STEP TWELVE – FINISHED POTATO SALAD
Serve the punched potato salad warm or chill it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Many potato salads are easy to switch up, and this is no exception. Roast the potatoes on a grill for summer, or forget the yogurt in the dressing to make it just a little lighter. Add more herbs or peppers to really punch up the vitamin C too. What is your favorite type of potato salad? Let us know!