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06/06/2012

~Sweet Potato, Apple, Vidalia Onion & Pecan Salad~

PICT0013It's the first week of June and barbecue season is in full swing here in Melanie's Kitchen.  Over the Memorial Day weekend we grilled thick, juicy Kobe beef cheeseburgers , and, over the past week we've made grilled chicken quesadillas and T-bone steaks too.  I've got ribs on my mind for the upcoming weekend, so, before I start posting those rib recipes, I thought I'd take a moment to share one of my favorite side-dishes to serve with them!

6a0120a8551282970b0154322ef1bc970c-800wiIt is no secret that I am a lover of pretty much everything and anything that can be made with potatoes, and, I absolutely adore sweet potatoes.  I've posted several great sweet potato recipes on KE already, but now it is time for me to post one for the grilling season!  

~My Favorite Potato & Egg Salad~ (found in Categories 4 & 10), is wonderful with hamburgers and hot dogs, but when I think of BBQ in the truest sense of the word, I think of:

PICT0015Southern-style smoked pork shoulder, brisket, ribs and/or turkey breast, complete with their classic dry rubs and secret sauces!  

Correct me if I am wrong, but what could be more Southern than serving BBQ with a chilled: ~ Sweet Potato, Apple, Vidalia Onion & Pecan Salad ~!

 

PICT0005Vidalia onions are sweet onions grown exclusively in a 20-county region in Georgia, but loved by folks like me in all parts of the world. Their mild, sweet taste, makes them perfect to use raw in a salad like this one.  Vidalias are available from late April through September, and thanks to an annual fundraiser run by our local State College Kiwanis Club, I've got 2, 10-pound bags, straight from Georgia, sitting on my kitchen counter today!

PICT0003For the sweet potatoes:

8 cups, 3/4"-1" cubed sweet potatoes, about 2 3/4 pounds peeled sweet potatoes

PICT0009~ Step 1.  In an 8-quart stockpot, place 5 quarts of cold, lightly salted (1 tablespoon) water.  Add the sweet potatoes.

PICT0015~ Step 2.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Adjust heat to simmer rapidly, 1 1/2-2 1/2 minutes, until al dente, or just fork tender.  Do not overcook!  

Note:  Sweet potatoes cook much quicker than "white" potatoes and go from perfectly cooked to mushy quickly too, so watch them carefully.

PICT0018

 

 

 

~ Step 3.  Drain into a colander and immediately rinse under very cold water, tossing them around in the colander until they are all cooled enough to handle with your hands. Set aside to drain thoroughly, about 15 minutes.

~ Step 4.  Place in a zip lock bag and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

6a0120a8551282970b0147e274afe9970b-800wiOptional Homemade Mayonnaise

It is well worth the 2-3 minute effort to make mayonnaise in the food processor.  My recipe for ~ How to: Make Homemade Mayonnaise ("Mayo") ~ can be found in Categories 8, 15 & 20!

~ Step 5.  Prepare the mayonnasie as directed and chill.  You will have 1 1/2 cups.  Depending upon how creamy you like your potato salad, for this recipe you will need:

1-1 1/2  cups mayonnaise, chilled

PICT0012~ Step 6.  Combine mayonnaise w/:

2  tablespoons pure maple syrup

2  tablespoons Creole mustard

1/2  teaspoon celery seed

1/4-1/2  teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4  teaspoon ground cinnamon

2  teaspoons sugar

1  teaspoon sea salt

1/2  teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

PICT0018~ Step 7.  Prep and add to the mayonnaise mixture:

2  cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples

1  generous cup diced Vidalia onion

1  generous cup diced celery

1/2  cup chopped pecans, plus,

for garnishing salad, set aside:

1/2 cup chopped pecans

PICT0025~ Step 8.  Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the chilled sweet potatoes.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator for an additional 2-4 hours, or overnight, to allow the flavors to marry.  Overnight is best.  

PICT0028Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped pecans and serve:

  PICT0001

Sweet Potato, Apple, Vidalia Onion & Pecan Salad:  Recipe yields 12 cups or 8-12 servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 8-quart stockpot; colander; 1-gallon food storage bag; whisk; large rubber spatula; plastic wrap

6a0120a8551282970b0154326c9832970c-800wiCook's Note:  For another side-dish typically found on the Southern BBQ table, click into Categories 4, 10 or 17 to get the recipe for ~ Mel's Creamy Crunchy Cole Slaw ~!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)

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