Picnic Potato Salad

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Need a Fourth of July side dish? Potato salad is a popular item at a picnic or potluck, but it is also the first to blame when foodborne illness comes to play. Homemade mayonnaise made with eggs is typically the true danger, but most potato salads nowadays are made with commercial mayonnaise, which contains pasteurized eggs to destroy any harmful bacteria. Nevertheless, this isn't to say that your potato salad made with commercial mayonnaise is automatically safe. When combined with cooked potatoes and left at room temperature for more than two hours or in the hot summer heat for more than one hour, bacteria is likely to grow, leading to potential illness. Protect you and your guests by ensuring your potato salad is always kept below 41°F. Where refrigerators are lacking, pack potato salad in an insulated cooler with frozen gel packs. Keep the cooler in the shade, and avoid opening it as much as possible.

The new (or red) potato, Yukon gold or yellow Finn are the best potatoes for potato salad because they hold their shape well. Potatoes are typically boiled, but try them roasted for more potato flavor. Potato salad doesn't have to be completely covered in mayonnaise. Consider decreasing the mayo to truly taste and see the star ingredients. Substituting half the mayo for light sour cream or nonfat plain yogurt can also cut down the calories while still providing the creaminess. Pack the potato salad for your summer picnic, but don't forget the ice packs!

Herbed Potato Salad (Printable PDF)

2 lbs. red potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

⅓ cup light mayonnaise

¼ cup light sour cream

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

¼ cup chopped green onions

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup diced celery

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss potatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread over rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and golden. Let cool slightly before transferring to a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon, green onions, garlic, parsley, and lemon juice. Gently add the dressing and celery to the potatoes and stir to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 190 calories, 8 grams fat, 240 milligrams sodium, 27 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams dietary fiber, 4 grams protein