Skip mayo in potato salad

Tarragon lemon potato salad.
Tarragon lemon potato salad. TNS

The summer months are a popular time for potato salad. The varieties for salad are the thin-skin waxy varieties: Yukon golds, new potatoes and red skin. Baking potatoes are a little too mealy.

I always use this potato cooking method for salad that I picked up years ago from the Food Network’s Ina Garten: Slightly undercook the potatoes, and drain them in a colander. Place the colander over a large pot, and cover the colander with a clean kitchen towel. Let them sit for 15 minutes, and the potatoes will steam and continue to cook.

Replacing traditional mayonnaise with sour cream adds bite and cuts the calories.

A few potato facts:

A green tinge on potatoes means they have been exposed to light or very cold or warm temperatures, starting a process that makes chlorophyll. When this happens, an alkaloid called solanine — a bitter toxin — develops. Solanine when eaten in large quantities can be toxic. Cut or scrap any green parts of the potato flesh or skin and discard those pieces.

A cool, dark and dry place is best for storage.

Most sources say not to store onions and potatoes together because both emit gases that cause them to spoil. Also, don’t wash potatoes before storing. This can cause them to decay too soon.

Potatoes are a good source of potassium. A baked potato with skin has more potassium than a banana.

Idaho is the No. 1 producer of potatoes.

Tarragon-lemon potato salad

Serves: 6; preparation time: 15 minutes; total time: 45 minutes (plus chilling time)

2 pounds new potatoes

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 teaspoon chopped garlic

3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon (or more to taste) lemon juice

2 tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon or 4 teaspoons fresh (or to taste)

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover them. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are pierced easily with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain and let cool until you can handle them. When cool, cut them into quarters or halves, depending on the size of the potatoes.

In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, celery and parsley. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill pickle relish, tarragon, salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Nutrition per serving: 136 calories (13 percent from fat), 2 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 23 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 359 mg sodium, 7 mg cholesterol, 60 mg calcium, 3 grams fiber. From “Potato Salad” by Debbie Moose (Wiley, $16.95). Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.