05 August 2010

Japanese Potato Salad

TheIrreverentCook is seeking shiso in the nearest Japanese or Korean market to make my Vegetarian Pasta Salad, so on his/her behalf I though I would post another recipe that calls for shiso. This potato salad is impossible to mess up. Never has anyone over the age of 10 scorned its rarified tasty goodness. My neighbors gobble it up; George has requested it frequently for the last 7 years, and as it's one of the easiest and most effective potato salads on the planet, I am always happy to oblige. Although shiso is native to Japan, I also tracked it down in Berkeley, CA, New Haven, CT, and Durham, NC, which means there's a good chance you can find it too. You find it garnishing your sushi in most restaurants, so give it a nibble and see what you think. We currently grow bushels of it in our garden, mostly for the sake of this potato salad.

If real mayonnaise is not your cup of…mayo…ew…try the vegan (and bonus! kosher) mayonnaise Vegenaise which Book of Yum avers is also gluten-free, as is Miso Mayo.

Japanese Potato Salad

5 fist-sized Yukon Gold or red boiling potatoes, scrubbed clean
Mayonnaise to taste (see note above for brands)
5 leaves of shiso/ perilla, rolled up and sliced into tiny pieces
5 umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums), pitted and chopped into tiny pieces
salt to taste
8 good-quality lettuce leaves, washed and dried

1. Boil potatoes in their skins until tender all the way through.
2. Cool off potatoes under running water. Peel with your fingers and ruthlessly dig out any eyes.
3. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher or large wooden spoon.
4. Add mayonnaise a little at a time until the potatos have a creamy and delightful texture.
5. Add shiso and umeboshi. Mix all up.
6. Add salt if you think it needs any.
7. Line a nice bowl with lettuce leaves in a fan pattern. Mound potato salad attractively on top.
8. Serve at once or chill it and then serve it.

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