Well summer is coming to an end and although I’m really excited for fall, I will be missing the bright red tomatoes I’ve been scoring at the Farmer’s Market lately.
Now you’ve probably heard by now of the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, especially its effectiveness in reducing your risk of heart disease. One of the factors contributing to this is the use of extra-virgin olive oil in cooking, which is high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, instead of butter, lard and vegetable oils, all high in saturated fats and cholesterol.
One example of this difference in cooking techniques is this Italian-style potato salad. Any potato salad I’ve come across is typically loaded with some kind of creamy goodness, usually mayonnaise, and has a much higher ratio of potatoes to any other vegetables in the dish. However, my Italian mother-in-law’s potato salad includes equal amounts of tomatoes and potatoes and swaps in heart-healthy extra-virgin olive oil for the high-cholestrol mayonnaise. This change not only reduces the cholesterol in the salad to ZERO, but it also adds some Vitamin C and A from the tomatoes.
This take on potato salad is fresh, simple and easy to make, but requires a little pre-planning on your part because the potatoes need to be chilled at least two hours before serving. I usually just boil them in the morning and keep them in the fridge until I’m ready to assemble and serve, but you could even prepare them the night before while you’re cooking dinner.
3 cups baby new potatoes, whole
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1. Fill a large pot with cold water, add potatoes and bring water to a boil.
2. Reduce to med-high heat and boil for 7-12 minutes or until you can easily pierce potaties with a fork.
3. Drain in a colander and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
4. Cut potatoes in half and place in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients, adjusting the salt if needed. Mix gently until vegetables are fully coated and serve.
Now if you want to eat this the “Italian” way, then after the salad is gone you will dip a small piece of fresh whole-wheat bread in the juice from the tomato/olive oil mixture left over in the bottom of the bowl.