Spicy and Sour Julienned Potato Salad with Sichuan Pepper | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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Milk Street Recipe

Spicy and Sour Julienned Potato Salad with Sichuan Pepper

Appears in July-August 2021

Spicy and Sour Julienned Potato Salad with Sichuan Pepper

This side dish, adapted from “Xi’an Famous Foods” by Jason Wang, is a departure from what most of us consider a potato salad. Yukon Golds are julienned (that is, cut into matchsticks), boiled until tender but with a hint of bite, dressed in vinegar, tossed with a sizzling spice-infused oil and finished with scallions and cilantro. The sourness of the vinegar along with the heat of the chilies and tongue-tingling quality of the Sichuan peppercorns brings bold flavor to earthy, mild potatoes. A mandoline fitted with the julienne blade is the fastest, easiest way to prep the potatoes; the matchsticks should measure about ⅛ inch on four sides, but their length isn’t so important. Or, if you’re up for honing your knife skills, use a chef’s knife instead. Either way, make sure to purchase medium-sized potatoes, not small ones, so prep is easier. Sweet paprika lends color and earthy notes to the oil, but if you don’t have any on hand, simply omit it. The salad will still be delicious.

Tip

Don’t cook the potatoes until completely tender. Drain them when the pieces are tender-crisp. This way, they hold their shape and have an al dente quality in the finished dish. And don’t mix the scallion whites into the potatoes. Pile them on top and make sure that the hot spice-infused oil hits the scallions when it’s strained on. The oil blooms the alliums and cooks them slightly.

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