Over the past weekend, JiT and I took our final SCUBA diving classes at a location just for divers at an old quarry down in Kankakee, IL. Hooray — we’re finally certified to scuba dive!
Since the classes were held both Saturday and Sunday, we decided to make a weekend of it and stayed in Kankakee. We had a great time in the water and met some wonderful people both in the classes and at some of the fun bars and restaurants we visited in town.
It was a fun — but incredibly exhausting — adventure (SCUBA equipment is HEAVY). When we finally arrived back home on Sunday evening, we were pretty ravenous and looking forward to a nice, easy, home-cooked meal.
We already knew what we were in the mood for. One of our SCUBA classmates is the manager/bartender at Half Shell — a great casual seafood restaurant on Diversy in Lincoln Park. We’ll definitely be stopping by the restaurant to say hello and enjoy a great meal sometime soon, but on Sunday, we just wanted our couch! So, we made crabmeat sandwiches and potato salad.
I never liked potato salad until I found this recipe — its actually a recipe of a former colleague. The first time JiT and I tasted it, he insisted I get the recipe and I actually took seconds, which is normally unheard of for me with regard to potato salad. The secret to this version is using yukon gold potatoes, which have a naturally creamy consistency, so you don’t need to use as much mayonnaise. The resulting flavor is much brighter, fresher and focused on the potatoes and herbs instead of just drowning in mayo. The full recipe is listed below.
The crabmeat rolls are something we just made up on the fly. Its the same idea as a lobster roll, but we were too cheap to buy $20 lobster tails and instead bought a couple pounds of crab legs. We split a couple of sandwich rolls, spread them with butter, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of Old Bay seasoning, and broiled them for a few minutes. Once the rolls were golden, we topped them with sliced avocado and some lump crabmeat mixed with about a tablespoon of mayonnaise, a tiny drop of mustard and another sprinkle of Old Bay. Back into the broiler for another 2 minutes and voila! With a squeeze of lemon juice, these are scrumptious! (Also great cold…I took an extra in my lunch the next day).
While I totally understand that most people probably think JiT and I are nutty for standing in our kitchen de-shelling crab legs and making potato salad after 2 days of scuba diving classes and an hour drive back from Kankakee, we found it oddly therapeutic. But we love to work and chat together in the kitchen over a glass of wine…its just who we are. Of course…that said, last night when I got home from work, I heated up some frozen pizza and went to bed (Rachel, that was for you dear).
Now, on to the potato salad:
Rebecca’s Favorite Potato Salad
Serves 4 – 6
2 lb. yukon gold potatoes or miniature yukon gold potatoes
1 small vidalia onion, whole but with ends and outer skin removed
3 lage eggs
4 small green onions, finely diced
1 1/2 to 2 Tbs. lite mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. dry mustard (yellow condiment mustard also works)
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Put potatoes, vidalia onion and eggs in a large pot, and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and boil continously until the potatoes are just tender, about 30 min. DO NOT overcook or you’ll end up with mashed potatoes. Drain potatoes and eggs and immerse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Discard the onion.
When cool enough to handle, dice the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Peel the eggs and dice until fine. Combine all in a large bowl. Add the green onions, 1 1/2 Tbs. of mayonnaise, and mustard. Stir gently to combine and, if needed, add more mayonnaise until the mixture reaches your preferred consistancy. Generously season with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
You can serve immediately, but I’ve found this recipe tastes best after its had a few hours or overnight to sit and combine flavors. Enjoy!