Potato Salad Recipe and Grill Mates from Schwartz:
Summer is the time of year when no-one really wants to be stuck in the kitchen for too long. Salads that can be made up in advance, like my simple potato salad recipe, are a great way to keep things easy. And, getting the barbecue going is another way to enjoy the sunshine just a little more. I love the new range of Grill Mates from Schwartz, designed to make that process of creating the perfect barbecue easier. Whether you are just trying one recipe or cooking for a larger group and using four or five different marinades, Grill Mates help make a barbecue really simple. The rationale of buying a pre-mixed marinade makes perfect sense for a small household, where if you DO buy the individual spices you can quickly find they’ve got a bit ‘tired’. The life of a jar of spice once opened varies tremendously, but ground spices can degrade in a matter of weeks. While you won’t get food poisoning, you might just find that your cooking doesn’t quite have the kick you’d anticipated.
I got my hands on a pack of Mojito Lime Marinade, with sweet lime, mint and a hint of cayenne chilli pepper. And, checking out the Schwartz website I found a host of ways to use it. My first idea was to make these zesty lime king prawns. It’s a very quick recipe, because if you marinade raw fish for too long it will ‘cook’ like a ceviche and become rubbery when you try to barbecue or grill it. So, the Schwartz recipe recommends 30 minutes maximum (perfect for me!)
In fact, since I was only catering for two, I ended up keeping half the marinade and using it the next day with some chicken breast wrapped in foil in the oven. But, my first attempt at skewered barbecue prawns was a great success thanks to the Schwartz recipe. I didn’t have any white rum, so I substituted dark rum – which seemed to work very well.
A little under half of the marinade was left in the fridge and I used it to coat a chicken breast, which I wrapped in foil and baked in the oven for 15 minutes, before opening up the package to let both sides of the meat get that lovely caramelised coating you normally expect from a barbecue. It’s a sad fact of life that English weather doesn’t always lend itself to cooking outdoors, so I wanted to check how well the marinade worked used in a conventional oven. Needless to say it was delicious.
The potato salad I made went well with both meals. Making your own potato salad from scratch at this time of year couldn’t be easier – you don’t even need to peel the potatoes. Though I have to admit, the version I made wasn’t quite ‘from scratch’ because I used shop-bought mayonnaise. In something like a potato salad, where the mayonnaise is tempered with yoghurt or quark and flavoured with mustard, extra oil and various herbs, it really doesn’t notice and unless I’m catering for a large group I generally do ‘cheat’ just a bit, with a good quality shop bought mayo.
The simple recipe for potato salad can be varied easily, depending on what herbs you have and on whether you want something a little more substantial. It works well with the addition of chunks of hard boiled eggs and chorizo or ham. You can pretty things up too, if you can get hold of some chive flowers, which have a beautifully mild onion flavour. Here’s a recipe I posted a few years ago now for potato salad with quail eggs and chive flowers. You can add capers and peppers if you want a more colourful version. Best of all, potato salad should be prepared in advance and will keep in the fridge without spoiling for two or three days (in fact I rather like it a day later, when the mixture seems to meld together a bit).
My motto is to enjoy Summer while you can. Cheat in the kitchen where it makes sense – and make from scratch where it makes a difference.
Disclaimer: I have been paid to test the Schwartz Grill Mates. All views are my own and I was not expected to write a positive review.