After a recent cookout, I found ourselves staring down leftover potato salad. Mountains of it.
It took up nearly a full shelf in the refrigerator. It was delicious, but, frankly, there is only so much potato salad two people can eat. So, beyond throwing it away or, I don't know, feeding some of it to the dog, what could we do?
It was a pretty simple potato salad: large cubes of potatoes, skin on, tossed with mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and the last of the season's chopped ramps. Mayonnaise is mostly oil, and the rest of it amounts to seasoning, so we figured toss it in the oven and see what happens.
And guess what? It worked: after about half an hour in the oven, we had crispy, browned potato chunks you'd never guess were potato salad in a past life.
HOW ON EARTH DOES THAT WORK?
Turns out, potato salad recipes and roasted potato recipes are not that different from each other. Stay with me: both call for potatoes to be cut into chunks, boiled, tossed with oil (or mayonnaise) and seasonings. Potato salad stops there, while crispy potatoes are chucked into a hot oven until their exteriors turn golden.
But don't take my word for it. I had the Epicurious Test Kitchen make up one of our most popular potato salad recipes exactly as written—no funny business here, promise—and try roasting it. It worked for them, too: both in the oven and in a cast iron skillet on the stove top.
HOW TO DO IT AT HOME
Take your favorite potato salad recipe. (We haven't tested it with every kind of potato salad, although the simpler the recipe, the better. Let us know how it works if you try it withGerman-style potato salad!) Don't be afraid to use potato salads that have chunks of celery or herbs in them; it'll add to the end result.
Most potato salads can go straight into a cast iron pan. If your potato salad is really, really mayonnaise-y (ours was), toss it into a strainer and give it a quick rinse. Don't rinse off all the mayo, though—you want some fat on there so the potatoes crisp up.
Preheat the oven to 425. (Toaster ovens are your best friend if it's hot out.) Cook the potatoes for about half an hour, shaking them in the pan every ten minutes or so, until they're golden brown.
And that's it: a new life for old potato salad.