Cool find

Discover the wonders of Iceland in this potato salad recipe.


My mom always made ham and potato salad for Easter dinner, and since we were in Missouri, spring had usually always sprung by that egg-filled holiday. I thought I’d try making potato salad this year, knowing that I can never quite recreate my mom’s — she always put crumbled fried bacon in hers, as well as chopped sweet pickles. Instead of going through options online, I picked up a cookbook given to me by our Icelandic art director, Kris Rabasca. Sure enough, there was a recipe for potato salad, a.k.a. kartoflusalat. The recipe includes a few surprises — curry, apple, and sour cream. If you know me at all, you know I can’t abide fruit mixed into any salad … ever. I was happy to see that chopped apple was labeled as “optional.”

Before I gathered everything, though, I read through the cookbook, titled “Cool Cuisine: Traditional Icelandic Cuisine.” The introduction explained that there were very few vegetables and fruits available for centuries, and that cooking was impacted by Danish influences. Basically, folks prepared what was available — lots of fish, potatoes, lamb, and of course a little puffin and reindeer. The recipes are uncomplicated, especially if you have access to some of those main ingredients. (I don’t think the fish and shellfish recipes would be difficult to pull off around these parts.) I plan to try the chocolate soup recipe next.

Back to our potato salad. I gathered the ingredients at the grocery store, and was happy to see sweet gherkins in the recipe. I rarely buy them, but they always take me back to my childhood, when I’d sneak a few from the jar my mom was saving for her potato salad or sometimes our tuna fish salad. One shocking revelation I had was that mayonnaise was more than $7 — and that was on sale. Thankfully, this recipe blends sour cream with it, so I didn’t have to use a ton of mayo. I found that the dressing in this recipe was exceptional — something about the sour cream, mayo, and curry blended together was really smooth and less, well, mayonnaisey. The amount of curry used leaves the potato salad with just a hint of curry flavor, so it’s not overwhelming for those who aren’t great fans of the spice. Overall, I’d say this one was a real hit at our house. It’s not that different from what we’re used to, but I think I like it even better. See what you think.

Potato Salad (Kartoflusalat)

800g potatoes (close to 2 pounds)
3 eggs
2 apples (optional)
5 to 8 gherkins
¼ onion, or to taste
200ml mayonnaise (about ¾ cup)
200ml sour cream
½ to 1 tsp. curry powder (go with 1 tsp.)
lemon juice to taste (I squeezed half a lemon)

Boil the potatoes until tender. Peel and cube them. Hard-boil the eggs and chop them. Peel, core, and chop the apples, and chop the gherkins and onion. Mix everything in a bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, sour cream, and curry powder, and add lemon juice, pepper, and salt. Refrigerate for at least six hours.