Summer Sides: Tater Salad

Fresh produce in summer is a given. At my house, we're fortunate to have a bi-weekly CSA share, access to a great many farmers' markets (including the famous Dane County Farmers' Market), some fantastic pick-your-own farms and fields, and our own little garden plots featuring everything from fresh herbs and edible flowers to our favorite tomatoes. Putting together a good salad is beyond simple. However, putting together one that's show-stopping isn't quite as simple. That's when combining textures and flavors becomes a very handy skill:

Buttery roasted potatoes get paired with a variety of crunchy and wilted fresh produce and it all gets a bath in a delightfully garlicky dressing. The result is a beautiful salad that tastes like summer and can hold its own next to everything from barbecued chicken to smoked pork to grilled salmon. Even a beautifully grilled steak will be taken up a notch when this salad is served alongside it. What's more, the complexity captured in this side means you need not feel obligated to get fancy with the main course. A simple spice rub and a hot fire on the grill will have a beautiful, quintessentially summer dinner plate waiting for you at the finish line.

If you are looking to get this dish underway a bit in advance, you can prep all of the veggies in advance (including roasting the potatoes — just be sure to reheat them so they will wilt your greens when it's time to assemble the salad). The dressing can also be made and stored in the refrigerator to 2 days in advance, but make sure whatever you decide to store it in seals tightly — this one's pungent!

Roasted Potato and Wilted Kale Salad

  • 1 lb. red potatoes, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 T. canola oil
  • 1-2 tsp. seasoned salt (I used Penzeys Lemon Pepper)
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. grainy mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves (or 1/4 c. finely chopped garlic scapes)
  • 1/4 c. sliced green onions
  • 3-5 radishes, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 c. thinly sliced red onion
  • 4-5 c. baby kale greens (you can use a different hearty green if desired)

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Toss the red potatoes with the canola oil and seasoned salt in a shallow baking dish. Roast in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, turning once about halfway through the cooking time, until slightly browned and easily pierced with a fork.

While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the dressing by combining the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and garlic or garlic scapes in a food processor. Process until smooth and set aside.

When the potatoes are done roasting, toss them with the dressing and the remaining ingredients. The heat from the potatoes will wilt the greens. Serve immediately alongside your favorite grilled foods or add chopped hard-boiled eggs to make this a main dish salad.

  • Yields: 6 side dish servings; 3 main dish servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Do you like the idea of a fun twist on good side dishes for summer? You're in luck! Keep your eyes open for a series of summer sides here now through August. You'll love the new ways to showcase the season's finest produce and the new ingredients mixed into the fun. 'Til next time, keep your summer fresh!

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