This was a strange idea, for sure. One the one hand, it’s a rich and satisfying, all-American summer party staple, and on the other, fiery-hot, exotic fare. My inspiration for this potato salad was dan dan noodles, a savory and slightly sweet Szechuan noodle dish laced with red chili oil, pungent preserved greens, and Szechuan peppercorns. Actually, I was supposed to bring a potato salad to a party and couldn’t find much else to flavor it with in my fridge.
So this hybrid side dish resulted, and a creamy, tangy, peppery potato salad was served at my friends’ Easter potluck party this past weekend, of all events. It was actually pretty good. The chili oil blended with the mayonnaise to create a sunny orange dressing. The bits of pickled mustard greens were brightened by the fresh cilantro throughout. And in lieu of finely chopped celery, which I might add to potato salads of any type, I used up a cucumber, scraped of its seeds and diced, for some cool, crunchy contrast instead. It was actually delightful.