Raise a Glass with Ginger; Beer and the Picnic Menu
Long holiday weekends in America are too few and far between, in my humble opinion. So it’s with enthusiasm that I look forward to Memorial Day, just a week+ away.
The first thing to remember for me is the holiday is one that commands respect. It’s “a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day…” (thanks Wikipedia). So whatever you do, be sure to take a moment, make a toast, and encourage others to celebrate the land of the free.
Beer plays a staring role in holiday menus because of its diversity and enormous range of available flavors, which you can pair with all sorts of delicious foods. Sometimes we only make certain foods for certain holidays. Maybe potato salad is one you only make for picnics, potlucks, and neighborhood parties. It’s a classic dish, year round – and makes a lot of appearances in particular in the summertime. (Caution: be sure to keep it cool to avoid dangerous spoilage and illness.)
Have you tried boiling those potatoes in beer? Use a refreshing well-balanced beer like Elysian Brewing’s Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale. The potatoes will absorb some of that delicious flavor, giving a fresh take and snap to the finished salad. Don’t want to fill the pot with beer first? Then simply add a healthy cup or two – or one 12 ounce bottle – to the pot and turn on the heat.
All salads have their own signature by their maker. I like to add coarsely chopped green olives or capers, chopped boiled eggs, and freshly minced herbs like parsley and cilantro. A bit of bacon, previously cooked to crispy and then chopped, adds a delicious salty element to the salad. For a dressing…well, with all the great flavors already going on, I like to use a healthy splash of red wine vinegar (so easy to make yourself at home), a good drizzle of flavorful olive oil, and a bit of cracked black pepper, salting to taste only if needed. If you use green olives or capers, you can use a bit of their juice in lieu of some of the vinegar.
Pairing this summer beer potato salad is a breeze too: simple serve some of the beer you used in cooking! If you’ve forgone that step, then pick a variety of beers to offer to guests. Potatoes are an excellent medium for many reasons. And after all, everyone’s taste buds are different. Serve it up with a smile and everyone is satisfied.
It’s a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day… (thanks Wikipedia). So whatever you do, be sure to take a moment, make a toast, and encourage others to celebrate the land of the free.
Events: 5th Annual Seattle Beer Week May 10 – 19