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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.
pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch matchsticks
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