Q: My son and daughter-in-law treated me to lunch at a restaurant I hadn’t been to but they had, Victory Sandwich Bar. As my side dish, I chose the “Smoked Potato Salad.” After one mouthful, I said that it was really very good and asked if they had ever gotten it. They had not, so I made them taste it. Everybody loved it! I said I wonder if they would tell me how they make it. My son begged me not to ask for the recipe. So, I told him that I would just ask the AJC. He was OK with that. Thank you. — Janis Luepke, Sandy Springs
A: Melissa Allen Foltz, executive chef for Victory Brands, sent the recipe and a few notes. “I do a lot of research before coming up with recipes. I saw someone had smoked potatoes for a component in one of their dishes in a book I have. “That’s kinda where I decided to make a potato salad.” I like spicy food and making powders and various spice blends, as we do with our chorizo for the ‘Han Cholo’ [a sandwich with chorizo, feta and tomatillo salsa].”
The recipe calls for habanero powder which the restaurant used to make, but now outsources. “We have made it in the past, but it kind of burns our noses! We order it from a local produce company and when not in stock we’ve gotten it from Amazon.” You could substitute a small amount of minced fresh habanero.
As for smoking the potatoes, the restaurant uses an electric smoker that they use to smoke pork, to smoke trout for “The Stream Machine” featuring smoked trout salad on ciabatta and to smoke beets for “The Beeter,” the restaurant’s take on a pastrami salad with brined, seasoned and smoked beets.
We tested the recipe following these directions and using a grill smoker box on a gas grill. These boxes are available from Savory Spice in Virginia-Highland, Cook’s Warehouse and Sur la Table. Be certain to use potatoes that are all the same size. They will cook evenly in the first step and by using whole potatoes in their skins in the smoking step, the potato interiors don’t dry out.
Victory Sandwich Bar’s Smoked Potato Salad
2 pounds small red potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 plus 2 tablespoons finely diced yellow onion
1/4 plus 2 tablespoons finely diced celery
1/4 plus 2 tablespoons finely diced roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon habanero powder, or to taste
Heat grill or smoker to 225 degrees. Fill smoker container with wood chips that have not been soaked in water.
In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with water and add about 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook potatoes until almost fork tender. Drain and cool. Arrange potatoes on grill or smoker, cover and smoke for one hour. Remove and cool. Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces.
In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, onion, celery, red peppers, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and habanero powder. Pour over potatoes and toss to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day. Makes: 5 cups
Per 3/4-cup serving: 391 calories (percent of calories from fat, 68), 4 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 31 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 13 milligrams cholesterol, 506 milligrams sodium.