Now, where I’m from a “barbecue” doesn’t necessarily mean the meat. A barbecue, as I was raised to call it, is what some of y’all folks call a “cookout“.
Whatever you call it, there are some staple foods that appear at the typical barbecue, including my grandma’s deviled eggs and some form of potato salad. Potato salad happens to be one of my very favorite foods to eat at a barbecue or in any other circumstance. And I especially like the kinds that aren’t totally doused in a creamy mayonnaise sauce. A little mayo goes a long way.
One of the best potato salads I’ve ever eaten was made by my Aunt Josette and I remember it well because it was the very first time I ever ate fennel. Because of all the summer barbecues being talked about in the universe, I started to reminisce about this delicious fennel and potato salad and I ventured to create my own version.
If you are a fennel virgin, let me enlighten you about this delicious plant vegetable thing. (What exactly is fennel?)
Fennel tastes like licorice in a crunchy, fresh way. Still following me? You’re going to have to trust me. To some, it tastes really strong on its own so putting it in something like potato salad is a great way to experience the flavor but not overwhelm your palate (big word for “taste buds”). When you cut the fronds off the bulb, cut the bulb in half and remove the “core”, then chop/dice roughly like you would an onion. Do your best. Also, save the fronds because you can cut up the herby part and use it for seasoning.
The crunch of the fennel is so perfect with the softness of the potato and since the dressing is light you can taste everything without feeling overwhelmed by mayonnaise. Make this for your next barbecue. Or with my Black Olive & Goat Cheese Turkey Burgers as we did!
Potato and Fennel Salad (serves 4)
2 lbs small red potatoes, washed
1 bulb fennel, fronds removed
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 T dijon mustard
1 T olive oil
juice of 1 small lemon (or 1/2 medium lemon)
fennel greens, chopped
salt & pepper
Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and place a dish towel over them, allowing them to steam for another 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, slice each potato into fourths and set aside. Remove the fronds from the fennel bulb but don’t discard. Slice the fennel bulb in half and remove the core. Continue to slice the bulb into small pieces and set them aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Chop fresh rosemary and the greens from the fennel fronds. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, fennel, herbs, and the mayonnaise mixture, folding gently so as not to mash up the potato pieces. Allow to chill for at least an hour and serve cold.