Cajun Potato Salad made from potatoes boiled in crab boil, the fabulous Trinity trio of vegetables, a flaky Creole seasoning, spicy mustard, southern Chow Chow & what else but bacon!
Cajun Potato SaladWhat is Cajun Potato Salad? There is no real definition for it that I can find, and in fact, most people just make a typical southern style potato salad, add a bit of spicy mustard and Cajun or Creole seasoning, and call that Cajun Potato Salad. Well, I decided I needed to remedy this!
Since we love our shrimp and crab boils down here in The Deep South, and one of the usual add-ins at any boil is gonna be little new potatoes, I thought why not add some liquid crab boil into the water to boil potatoes for a potato salad? Then I figured a good next step for a Cajun potato salad would be to include, not just the typical onion and celery, but the full out Holy Trinity of Cooking - so, onion, celery and sweet, green bell pepper it is!
Then I thought after tossing the potatoes with the usual salt and pepper, a nice, big and flaky Creole seasoning like Zatarain's Big & Zesty Original Creole seasoning would be the best way to go. That would give it the Cajun flavors, but would let the seasonings contrast against the whiteness of the potato salad and make for a nice presentation.
Of course, like any good southern potato salad, we would need the usual mayo dressing, but reserve the drippings from the bacon and include those and instead of regular yellow mustard, it should definitely be a spicy mustard, so I used some Zatarain's Creole mustard instead of yellow.
Now, some folks like a little potato salad with their mustard. Not that there's a thing wrong with that, it's just that while I do like a little bit of mustard in my potato salad, I am not one of those people. If you are, that's perfectly fine with me! Just use the amount and types of mustard you like. I just used the spicy Creole mustard, and no yellow at all, but combine the two if you like.
The typical pickle add-in to potato salad, was replaced here with an overflowing spoonful of Chow Chow, a southern relish. The one I used was purchased locally at a local produce market, and is made of cabbage, onion, jalapeno peppers, and is in a nice vinegary sweet syrup. If you don't have access to Chow Chow, just use your favorite pickles, sweet or dill, or a jalapeno, or regular pickle relish, whatever your preference.
Even though the ritual of le boucherie is not as predominant in these modern times, pork will always be king in The Deep South, so to be Cajun Potato Salad this must absolutely contain pig in some form. I decided on bacon, but I wanted to feature it as a contrasting texture. Rather than combining it into the potato salad, I decided to utilize it as a garnish. When you are ready to serve the potato salad, sprinkle the top very lightly with a bit of additional Cajun/Creole seasoning, and garnish with the crumbled bacon and a scattering of sliced green onion. Perfect!
So, right or wrong, this was the makings of what I consider to be a Cajun Potato Salad! I gotta tell y'all - I really didn't know how I would like the green pepper in potato salad, but it worked, and between the crab boil and the seasonings, there is just enough of a Cajun kick to this potato salad, that it leaves that nice little happy tingle on the lips. Now that's what I'm talking about.
While I realize some of you won't have the same access to the exact products I tested with, certainly if you have better access to different products, make appropriate substitutions. Enjoy!
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Recipe: Cajun Potato Salad©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings
- 3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped, set aside for garnish, drippings reserved
- 3 pounds potatoes
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large pinches kosher salt for the water pot
- 1 tablespoon liquid crab boil
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon big flake Cajun/Creole seasoning, (like Zatarain's), or to taste, plus extra for garnish (see note)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 cup real mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon spicy mustard, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon Chow Chow, jalapeno pickle relish or plain pickle relish, optional
- 1 green onion, sliced, for garnish
Cook bacon to crisp; set aside and reserve drippings. Rinse and scrub potatoes, peel and cut into cubes or chunks. Place into a pot of fresh water and cover with twice as much water; tuck the eggs down into the potatoes to cushion them; bring to a boil. Add a couple of generous pinches of kosher salt and the crab boil, and boil just until the potatoes are tender - time will depend on the type and size of the potato, but don't overcook. Test by piercing with a sharp knife. Drain potatoes well and set aside to cool. Remove eggs and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process.
Once cooled, transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper and Cajun or Creole seasoning, to taste; gently toss. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper. Peel and chop the eggs and add to the potatoes; gently toss. Combine reserved bacon drippings, mayonnaise, mustard, and relish. Pour over potatoes and gently toss. If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to blend. Just before serving, sprinkle the top very lightly with additional Cajun/Creole seasoning. Finely chop the cooked bacon and garnish the top of the potato salad with the bacon and the sliced green onion.
Cook's Notes: I used Zatarain's liquid shrimp and crab boil, Zatarain's Creole mustard and Zatarain's Big & Zesty Original Creole seasoning. I thought that the larger flake of the Big & Zesty would let the seasonings show through better on the potatoes and make for a nice presentation. If you substitute a more finely ground Cajun or Creole seasoning than the Big & Zesty, keep in mind you will probably need less, so take that into consideration when seasoning. Use less, taste and then adjust.
Shrimp Potato Salad: When adding the chopped eggs, add in 1/2 pound of small (150+ count) peeled, cooked shrimp. Then dress with the mayo blend.
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