Thursday, April 30, 2009

Purple Potato Salad

Whenever I make this I can't help but think of what a kick my Grandfather would have gotten out of this recipe. I can imagine him coming into the kitchen and exclaiming "Purple Potatoes?! Never heard of such a thing!" He'd throw back his head and laugh, convinced that eating it would turn his teeth purple for a week.

We had a shared love of potato salad, my Grandfather and I. When I was growing up my Grandparents took care of me while my parents were away, and my Grandmother always made potato salad and mashed potatoes (still two of my favorites, I am truly an Irish girl at heart). My Grandfather and I would share bowls together in the afternoon, outside on the porch in the summer shade. The afternoon snack was a complete necessity for my Grandfather, without it his blood sugar would dive and a grumpy demeanor would set in. He simply couldn't function without an afternoon snack, and so my Grandmother was always prepared, carrying cheese and crackers wherever they went, just in case.

When my Grandfather was dying of lung cancer, I drove home from Ashland to Redding, California to stay with him. He didn't have much of an appetite, but I was determined to cook for him. I loaded their refrigerator with spinach and Blueberry Juice, convinced the antioxidants would do him good, and when I asked what he wanted that week to eat, his only two requests were Shrimp Louie and Potato Salad. He wasn't able to eat much of either, but when he took a bite of each, he proclaimed them both the best he'd ever tasted. I miss him dearly.

The first time I found purple potatoes I was positively giddy (as I'd been when I found purple asparagus). My friend Lily had made it for a party and it was fantastic! I begged her for the recipe and she obliged. Purple potatoes are now back in the farmer's market, so of course, I had to make this salad. I've adapted it slightly by adding the radishes.

Lily's Purple Potato Salad

2 lbs purple potatoes (you can use whatever potatoes you have on hand)
4 hard-boiled eggs
1 bunch of radishes
1 fennel bulbs, plus some of the fronds
1 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
4 cloves garlic
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Yum! I'm definitely going to try that salad this summer. It looks tasty. Although, I think the story was the best part of this entry!

  2. I remember Lilly's potato salad too! Thanks for posting this, I can't wait to try the recipe again. Actually, Ed, can we just do another trade and you can make it for me:)

  3. Hmmm, maybe you'll get lucky and I'll bring some with me tonight!

  4. This is by far one of the best potato salads i've ever had! the radishes and fennel make it.

  5. what a beautiful lookin dish! can't wait to try this and many other recipes on your site! thanks :)