Are you planning to be outside this weekend? Here in Philly, it looks like we're in for a well-deserved stretch of sunshine and moderate heat—according to the Weather Channel, temps shouldn't rise higher than the low 80s from now until Sunday. So it seems like the perfect time to post a few solid picnic-perfect recipes I've been holding on to since the 4th of July.
As I've gotten older and more health-conscious, I've become much less interested in the gloppy, mayo-heavy potato salads and coleslaws of my childhood. Let's be serious: if I'm going to gorge myself on something rich and fatty, it's going to be from the dessert table, not the salad bar. In these two salads, herbs and citrus impart a nice zing, enhancing the vibrant colors and flavors of fresh vegetables. And with no mayo involved, they'll last longer out in the sun.
Fingerling Potato and Green Bean Salad
Serves 4 to 6
1 pound multicolored fingerling potatoes, scrubbed (halved if on the larger side)
3/4 pound green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (I used chives, rosemary, and lemon balm)
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and carefully drop in the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes; drain them well in a large colander.
Bring 3 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan, and cook the beans over medium-high heat until they are crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to the colander with the potatoes and drain well.
In a large bowl, toss together the warm potatoes, beans, herbs, oil, zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve salad warm or at room temperature. The salad will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 3 to 5 days.
Cabbage-Kohlrabi-Carrot Slaw with Cilantro and Lime Dressing
Serves 8 to 10
1 medium head red (or green) cabbage, quartered, cored, and shredded
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 pound kohlrabi, peeled and shredded
1 large bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
Juice of 3 limes
2/3 cup vegetable or safflower oil
1-1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a very large bowl, toss together the shredded cabbage, carrots, and kohlrabi. Add the cilantro and toss to combine.
In a medium-sized jar, combine the lime juice and oil and shake well until the mixture looks milky. Add the sugar and shake well for a few seconds until the sugar is incorporated. (Alternatively, whisk the lime juice and oil in a bowl, then add the sugar and whisk again until combined.)
Pour the dressing over the slaw, toss well to combine, and season generously with salt and pepper. (You'll need more salt than you think: just keep tasting the slaw and adding more until the seasoning is to your liking.)
Cover and refrigerate the slaw for at least an hour or two before serving. It will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.