Home With TheLost Italian: Super spud side dish

Creamy Red Potato Salad is just right for summer

FARGO — We featured several North Dakota crops and products at last week’s dinner event at the Coteau des Prairies Lodge in Havana, N.D., and while nearly all of our creations were consumed that evening, we were delighted to find that we still had a fair supply of creamy red Buxton potatoes to bring home.

We first discovered these potatoes back in the fall of 2015 when a friend told us that the best red potatoes in the Red River Valley could be found at NoKota Packers in Buxton, N.D., which is located just south of Grand Forks. We made the trip up that fall to see for ourselves, and we can confirm that some of the best potatoes we’ve ever eaten can indeed be found in Buxton.

The NoKota Packers facility stores, washes and packages about 6 million pounds of Red Norland potatoes, which are grown by several farms in North Dakota and sold to various markets throughout the country. After harvesting, the potatoes are also available for walk-in sales from just after Labor Day through April and sometimes even into May.

We had the good fortune of getting the very last two 50-pound bags from last fall’s harvest, and even after our dinner, we’ll have enough left to enjoy throughout the summer. These potatoes have a natural creaminess that makes them perfect for mashed or whipped potato dishes, but they are hearty enough to stand up to a variety of potato recipes.

We first featured Buxton potatoes in our Oct. 28, 2015, column with a recipe for Rosemary Smashed Potatoes, and when we served them at last week’s event, we kept the skins on and whipped them with blue cheese, butter and cream for a savory side dish to pair with roast bison. At home, whipped potatoes are just a touch too hearty for us to make in the summer months, and these red beauties also perform well in this week’s Creamy Red Potato Salad.

This potato salad is the perfect side dish for barbecues, picnics and parties, especially as it is best when made a day in advance, giving the flavors time to meld together. The dressing is a creamy blend of sour cream, extra-virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey and white vinegar.

Sour cream pairs well with all potatoes and given the creamy nature of these Buxton taters, I knew that it would make a great base for the dressing. The dressing can be made several days in advance, making this an easy dish to prepare and assemble.

To complement the creamy richness of the potatoes and dressing, this salad also features the bright freshness of cucumbers and dill, as well as chives and red onion for spice and a sprinkling of capers for a touch of briny tang. This Creamy Red Potato Salad will work well with any red potatoes, and golden varieties will also do the trick in a pinch.

But mark your calendars, because even though we’re still in the early stages of our North Dakota summer, Labor Day will be here before you know it — and so will more of the Red River Valley’s best red potatoes.

“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.

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