|Tracy, Enzo, & sammie|
Summertime is when this dish is most popular, which makes sense, as that is when potato salad makes the rounds of our own barbecues and picnics.
What makes this such a treat is not only the many different flavors and textures that find their way into the mix — anything from apples to ham to peas to corn to cucumbers to whatever you would like to toss in — but also the total carb fest it becomes when it is served inside of soft baked buns.
Taipei’s bakeries used this salad
to stuff small, round breads,
and the resulting contrast was perfect, so that is what I have set out to
achieve here. I therefore recommend King's sweet rolls, a Hawaiian staple that matches the salad deliciously.
Another vital component is Kewpie mayonnaise, the Japanese mayo that seasons so much of Taiwan’s fusion dishes. I don’t know what they put in this dressing, but it’s irreplaceable. American-style mayonnaise is good, but the potato salad will then taste like American food, and that misses the point. Be generous with it, too, as it is the main seasoning.
I enjoy all the colorful bits and pieces that give the salad a good variety of color and texture. Who knew that peas could be so good in this, or that ham provides just the right jolt of saltiness, or that apples supply such a nicely sweet undercurrent?
Plus, you get to mix and match the ingredients to suit your
taste. Use all or some or none of the options — it’s all good. When serving this
at a party or barbecue, I often offer one vegetarian salad and one with the ham, one with Kewpie and one with wasabi mayo (see Tips), so that everybody is happy.
Try this soon. Summer will never be the same.
Taiwanese potato salad sandwiches
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
Kewpie brand (Japanese-style) mayonnaise, as needed
1 medium carrot
1 medium onion, preferably a sweet Maui onion
½ cup frozen baby peas
1 Fuji (or other tasty variety) apple, unpeeled, cut into small (¼-inch) dice, optional
½ cup ham cut into small (¼-inch) dice, optional
4 hard-boiled eggs cut into small (¼-inch) dice, optional
2 Japanese or Persian cucumbers cut into small (¼-inch) dice, optiona1
Freshly-ground black pepper
24 sweet raised rolls
1. Rinse and peel the potatoes. Cut them into ½-inch dice and place them in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook only until the potatoes can be easily pierced in the center. Remove from the heat, drain, and dump these into a medium work bowl. Toss these with about 1 cup mayonnaise while they are still very warm so that they absorb the dressing.
|Chop stuff to same size|
|Get rolls like this|
Variation: For a more adult-oriented salad, use half wasabi-flavored mayonnaise and half Kewpie.