Warm potato salad

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by thom c, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. thom c

    thom c

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    We are looking to serve a warm potato salad on our menu, and I am struggling to think of what would be the best way to go about it for service? I would like to avoid using a microwave, do you think heating to order until just warmed through would be best?

    Thanks.
     
  2. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I have never done it in a restaurant setting but my first inclination would be to finish a la minute. Have your potatoes cooked al dente. When you get an order, drop the amount of potatoes needed for the order, into boiling water, pull, and finish with remaining components of salad.
     
  3. rsi rich

    rsi rich

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    Agreed.  Flash the potatoes to warm.  All the other ingredients can be mis-ed out beforehand and assembled to order.

    Makes my mouth water to think of warm potato salad.  Have not had one since culinary school.
     
  4. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Although I frown on Microwave for cooking, there are times when it is useful and makes sense. For heating items like this and melting  food products it has its place. 

    I was in Germany where  the salad was born, and ordered House made warm potato salad and they heated it in microwave. Keep in mind it is not supposed to be hot, just warm. It had an oil and vinegar base with rendered bacon fat in it as  well as onions . It was very good. You can't keep it in the steamtable all day and it can't be kept at room temp  all day so micro is trhe best alternative.
     
  5. iceman

    iceman

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    I don't know, maybe this is a simple answer or maybe it's goofy.

    Make a batch and keep it cold in the walk-in. When ordered, throw a big glob in a skillet, heat it up to desired temp and serve it up. Am I missing something here?
     
  6. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    I have held it warm when I was going through a ton of it.  In this case I don't think there's anything wrong with bumping it for 15 seconds in the zoomie-wagon.
     
  7. chefjasonb

    chefjasonb

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    I've done it both ways that were mentioned above.  There's small problems with each IMO.  Precooking the potatoes to al dente and reheating to order and then adding dressing or whatever is fine, but you lose some of the flavor of mixing the dressing on the potatoes when they're warm, you know as the salad sits and gets cold.  The dressing and hot potatoes has a chance to soak into each other creating something really tasty.  When you do it this way it's really like dressing a salad.  Good flavor but the dressing really hasn't soaked into the potato yet, not a bad thing, your dressing has to be well seasoned with tasty other bits mixed in.

    The other way is good too, but when reheating an already cold potato salad.  I find the potato to get starchy and very soft, depending on how hot you reheat and how long.

    For me it would depend on what type of restaurant I'm working at.  A nicer place, I'm going to reheat to order then dress.  I would really play with different potatoes and season the water aggresively.  Maybe add a splash of white wine vinegar when they are still hot after you drain to season a little bit so they're not so bland.  And then add a nice fatty dressing to counter the vinegar.  Fingerlings work really well for warm potato salads.
     
  8. frankie007

    frankie007

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    Damn, all this talk of potato salad....now I have to make it and serve it with a Vienna schnitzel. Off to the shop......
     
  9. recky

    recky

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    A post from Germany here, the home of the warm potato salad...

    A warm potato salad simply has to be be dressed while the potatoes are still warm and then they steep in the dressing for a couple of hours. Dressing it a la minute is not an option, because it will taste bland.

    In a restaurant environment it is actually a problem to serve warm potato salad, a dilemma, if you like. Warming it up on the stove top will usually render it either too hot or not heated through to the core of the potato slices. Holding it in a steam table will also provide unsatisfactory results. Both methods will also fray the edges of the potato slices. Other than holding the salad in the dangerous "warm" temperature window, I can't think of any other workable solutions. It's just one of those things with traditional dishes: some of them simply were not designed for restaurants.

    Cheers,

    Recky
     
  10. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Do you have a steamer on the line?  Reheat it in ramekins with plastic over top.  We used to heat a number of things in our steamer.  I agree with trying to make it a la minute-you won't get the through and through flavor that makes hot potato salad so good.
     
  11. trizzish

    trizzish

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    We have done a warm fingerling potato salad in the past. I would throw a few orders of already cooked potatoes in the oven at a time with creme fraiche and crispy bacon pieces and seasonings, and just enough water so that it is reduced by the time they are heated. Then put them in a metal bowl on top of the stove, as long as using up quickly...I just repeat the process during service. Toss with scallions or herbs to order. Not a traditional potato salad but super freaking tasty. And giving the potatoes a little smoosh after cooking them lets all the yummy bacony creme fraiche soak into them while being heated. 
     
  12. kingfarvito

    kingfarvito

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    I've done a few different versions of this 

    get order

    drop par-cooked (I use either whole fingerlings or quartered reds) potatoes in pasta water setup

    drop some bacon fat in a cold skillet, once the fat has melted your potatoes should be warm enough to add 

    keep the heat on medium and stir with a wooden spoon while adding the rest of your ingredients

    the potatoes should be warm through out and slightly mashed using this method.

    I've done classic style potato salad, loaded baked potato style, and a few others.