Y’all remember the McDLT don’t you? The burger whose toppings of lettuce and tomato came in a separate compartment, so the “hot stayed hot and the cool stayed cool?”(TM.) With all due respect to McD’s, I always thought that was a pretty asinine marketing campaign. Except I was 10 when the McDLT came out, so I didn’t know what asinine meant. But it seemed to me that as soon as you smashed the two halves of the burger together the lettuce was going to warm right up, so what was the point, huh?
You know I’ve been cooking in a tiny NY apartment, and have been trying to keep a “continuous kitchen,” so I use up what I’ve got before running out to get more stuff. Well, I lied about having finished the bechamel last night. I actually still have more. I made a freaking ton of it and it seems to multiply each night as I sleep. Today I discovered that I also had a bag of baby Yukon gold potatoes that I had completely forgotten about, languishing in the cupboard. So me brain started churning, and here is what it came up with: wouldn’t bechamel work as a sub for mayonnaise in a potato salad? Or at least a partial sub? Only one way to find out:
I boiled the potatoes til a knife pierced them easily, and while hot tossed them in a little rice vinegar, oil, and salt, just to give the final dish some tang and deep-down seasoning. I hard boiled a couple of eggs, cut up a rather limp stalk of old celery, cut up a bunch of parsley, and cut up a scallion which I soaked in ice cold water for a few minutes while tending to the potatoes. (The ice water bath takes away the sting from members of the onion family.) My add ins prepared, I returned to my now warm potatoes that had soaked up all of the vinegar dressing. To the warm potatoes I added a healthy tablespoon of bechamel, and stirred it all around. Then I added the add-ins (duh), threw in a teaspoon of dijon mustard to honor the French, went ahead and put in a tablespoon of mayo just to round things out, and gave the dish a few more cranks of salt and pepper. I refrigerated it, knowing I’d have potato salad for dinner (and tomorrow’s lunch, and tomorrow night’s dinner, etc. etc. There is a lot in my fridge!)
At the gym tonight I started thinking about how good that potato salad would taste with a bit of sausage. (Terrible that my mind goes to sausage while I am trying to sweat off pounds on the elliptical trainer.) I probably had sausage on the brain because last night I went to dinner with two of my favorite friends who live in Brooklyn, and they made an authentic low country boil, aka frogmore stew. For those of you who do not fetishize Charleston, that is a big boil of potatoes, corn, sausage and shrimp, all seasoned with Old Bay. It was reallyreallyreallyreally good, the sausage especially. So, after the gym I went to ye olde grocery store and bought some spicy chicken sausage (a session on the elliptical machine will make you switch from pork to chicken), and when I got home I pan fried it, made a quick salad of arugula, strawberries and balsmaic vinaigrette, plunked a modest serving of cold potato salad on the plate, and added the hot sausage. The combo of all three things–the pepperiness of the arugula, the creaminess of the potato salad, the piquancy of the sausage–was just a great thing. So McD’s, I take it all back. By the transitive property, your McDLT ruled, cuz my cold potato salad / hot sausage dinner sure did.