Mexican-Style Potato Salad

This recipe was inspired by two of my favorite Mexican foods: elotes, the legendary Mexican street snack of corn on the cob slathered in mayonnaise and crumbled cheese, and cebollitas, grilled spring onions that are often served as a simple side dish alongside grilled meat. 

For this dish, tender, still-warm potatoes are tossed with grilled baby onions, sweet roasted peppers, homemade mayonnaise, smoky paprika, and plenty of fresh lime juice. Then I sprinkle in some salty, crumbled cotija cheese, brightly flavored cilantro, and top it all with toasted pumpkin seeds for great texture.

We served this salad alongside my Escabeche-Style Grilled Chicken, which is still my favorite chicken marinade to this day, and a simple green salad.  I think this potato salad would also make the perfect accompaniment to simple grilled fish topped with garlic-infused butter.

Mexican-Style Potato Salad

Mexican-Style Potato Salad:
*serves 6 as a side dish*

1 large red pepper, roasted and peeled
2 bunches spring onions, bulb and bottom half of stem only, split lengthwise
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2# Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1” chunks
⅓ a C. of my coconut-lime mayonnaise (I substituted half of the coconut oil with melted ghee, for a richer flavor) OR use best-quality, prepared mayonnaise
1 tsp. smoked paprika
juice of 2 limes
⅓ C. crumbled cotija cheese
a big handful of chopped fresh cilantro
sea salt
toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Preheat your grill to medium heat.  Place the pepper on the grill over direct heat, turning every 3 – 5 minutes until blistered and blackened over about 90% of its surface. Toss your halved onions with the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt.  Cook them alongside the pepper until they have nice grill marks, about 5 minutes.  The onions will likely be done first, and can be transferred to a plate to cool.  When the pepper is done, transfer it to a small paper bag, fold it closed, and set aside to steam (this will help to loosen the skin for later removal).

Grilled Spring Onions - Mexican-Style Potato Salad

Place your cut potatoes in a pot filled with plenty of cold water and few giant pinches of salt.  Cover and place over high heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and continue to cook for 10 – 15 minutes, or until fork tender. In the meantime, whip up your homemade mayo, if using. When the potatoes are tender, drain into a colander and allow to cool for 15 minutes, tossing them occasionally to let additional stream escape.

While the potatoes cool, peel your roasted pepper (run under cool water to make it easy) and roughly chop. Cut the knotty base away from each grilled onion and then roughly chop them, too, being sure to cut the stems down to 1 inch or shorter lengths for easy eating.  Place the roasted pepper and onions in a bowl and add the lime juice, mayonnaise, and smoked paprika.

When the potatoes are just cool enough to handle, toss them into the bowl with the vegetables and sprinkle them very generously with salt.  Toss the mixture together until the mayonnaise is well distributed. Taste for salt, adding more if necessary.  Next, sprinkle in the cotija cheese and the chopped cilantro, and toss gently to just combine, so that the cheese and cilantro cling to the potatoes.

Transfer the warm potato salad to a platter or bowl and sprinkle generously with the toasted pumpkin seeds.

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