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Spicy Potato Salad

for Fathers’ Day


Dads are notorious for liking food that is hot and spicy! Buffalo wings, Mexican food or a big bowl of chili topped with hot sauce are all quickly gobbled up, the spicier the better.

I was thinking about a recipe to make for a Father’s Day cookout and decided that the spices used in “blackened chicken” and “blackened catfish” would be perfect. A blackened spice mix gets its heat from cayenne and paprika tossed with garlic powder, onion powder and dried herbs. What’s not to love in that combination?

If you’re looking for a special gift for a dad who loves spicy food – make a big batch of homemade blackened spice mix and put it in a pretty glass jar. The bright red paprika and cayenne tossed with flecks of green herbs and garlic and onion is pretty to look at and delicious to eat. What’s best is that the blackened spice mixture can be used on so many different foods: chicken, fish, shrimp, vegetables, to name a few, and you can always add to the mixture to make it even spicier if you like.

I wanted to make something different for our Father’s Day cookout so I decided to develop a recipe that used a blackened spice mix on potato salad. It’s easy to make – just boil Yukon gold potatoes, toss with the spice mix, fry them up in a little oil and then mix with traditional potato salad ingredients: onions, celery and mayo. Delicious!

I realize that the name “Blackened Potato Salad” give the impression of burnt potatoes, but it isn’t actually black. The name and color comes from a bit of char that you get when the spice mix hits the oil. It’s actually more of a deep coppery red. Because the spice mix is pungent and you’re tossing it in oil, realize that the mix will smoke! But you have a choice, you can either sauté the spiced potatoes on your stove (with the windows open and the vent fan on) or you can toss them with a little oil before putting on the spices and finish them off on your grill keeping any smokiness outside.

When I made the test recipe, my husband came into the kitchen and said it smelled delicious – a real “warm homey smell.” Aha! I knew I had hit on the right combination for Father’s Day!


Serves 4 (or one hungry dad who loves spicy food)

3 lbs. baby Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 tbsp. Hungarian paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
Cayenne pepper
Corn oil, for sautéing
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup each, chopped onion and celery
Salt & pepper, to taste

Put the potatoes into a large pot. Add enough water to completely cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well and set aside to cool.

While the potatoes are cooking make the blackened spice mix. In a bowl stir together the paprika, garlic and onion powders and dried herbs. Add a little cayenne pepper. For my mixture, I only added ½ teaspoon cayenne which was enough to give the potato salad a kick without knocking your socks off. If you like it spicier, add a little more (up to 2 teaspoons).

Gently toss the cooled potatoes with the blackened spice mix.

To finish the potato salad inside make sure you first turn on the stove fan and open a window. Pour a couple teaspoons of corn oil into a cast iron skillet fully coating the bottom and turn the heat on high until the oil begins to shimmer. Put half of the potatoes in the pan in a single layer. Let them fry for a couple of minutes and then turn the potatoes over to continue cooking on the other side. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and continue cooking the rest, adding more oil if necessary.

When you’re done, don’t toss out the oil and seasonings left in the pan for you will add this to the potato salad for extra flavor! Use a metal spatula to scrape up all the delicious charred spices stuck to the bottom of the pan.

In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, onion and celery then pour in any remaining oil from the cast iron skillet. Gently toss the potatoes with the mayonnaise mixture. Taste, then add a little salt and pepper if you’d like.

If you’d rather finish the potato salad outside on the grill, toss the drained potatoes with a little oil before adding the spice mix. Put the potatoes in a grill basket and cook on high heat until the potatoes just begin to char. When done, toss with the mayonnaise mixture.

Happy Father’s Day!