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Japanese Potato Salad

Japanese Potato Salad

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large 2 1/2-inch chunks
1 small carrot, peeled
5 inches Japanese cucumber, thinly sliced*
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
1/8 small red onion, finely chopped
1 large hard-boiled egg, finely chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise*
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

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1. Put the potatoes, carrot, and a large pinch of fine grain sea salt in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat and let the potatoes simmer until they are fork tender. Remove the carrot when it is starting to soften, but before it can be pierced through with a bamboo skewer.  Start checking the carrot and potatoes after they’ve been simmering for about 8 minutes. When the potatoes are done, drain them well.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, sprinkle the cucumber slices with 1 teaspoon of fine grain sea salt, toss, and let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then gently squeeze them and drain out the excess cucumber water.

3. Slice the cooled carrots in half lengthwise, then slice each half into thin half-moons. Coarsely mash the potatoes so some small chunks of potato still remain, then let the mash cool.

4. After the potato mash has cooled, stir in the cucumbers, carrots, red onion, and hard-boiled eggs. Gently stir in the mayonnaise and rice wine vinegar. Add additional mayonnaise, if desired. Cover the potato salad with plastic wrap, or place it in an airtight container and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

*Recipe Notes: If you don’t have access to Japanese cucumbers, use a thin-skinned cucumber like a Persian cucumber or small snacking cucumbers. If you only have regular cucumbers, peel them, slice them in half lengthwise and remove the seeds, then thinly slice them. Japanese mayonnaise is typically made with rice vinegar, which gives it a different flavor from American mayonnaise which is made from distilled vinegar or lemon juice. Japanese mayonnaise is also thinner than most American mayonnaise. The most well-known Japanese brand of mayonnaise is Kewpie, sold in plastic squeeze bottles in many Asian markets here in the US. If you can’t find Japanese mayonnaise, you can always make your own!  This potato salad is also delicious with other veggies thrown in, like fresh peas or corn.  Get creative!