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Mexican-Style Potato Salad


Mexican Potato Salad

I realize it’s not really BBQ season yet. In fact it feels like full-fledged winter still (hello, 5 to 6 inches of snow today?) In Wisconsin, this is what we call “March”.  Even if your grill is buried under 2 feet of snow, and your blender is making hot soup instead of margaritas — potatoes are in season. And I could eat potato salad winter, spring, summer and fall. Then again, I could also eat spoonfuls of mayonnaise, so…  I’m sorry if I made anyone gag just there.

I was inspired to create this potato salad because of this amazing Mexican street dish called elote (eh-low-tay).  I first had elote when I played on an indoor adult soccer league a couple of years ago.  They had the world’s best concession stand — steaming shredded pork tacos, creamy little containers of flan, chunks of juicy mango with lime juice and cayenne, and of course the indescribable elote. Yeah, not your average popcorn-hot dogs-bags-of-chips-concession stand.  I was hooked.

Elote, or Mexican grilled corn, is sometimes served on a stick or shaved off of the cob into a dish.  Any of the following are common toppings: salt, chili powder or cayenne pepper, butter, cotija cheese, lemon juice or lime juice, mayonnaise, and sour cream (or crema). I decided to tweak the flavors a bit, and came up with this. I must give props to my sister Jen for suggesting the garlic powder as I was trying to decide what else to add. It was the perfect addition!


8 small-medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped in half
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 full cup sweet corn, cooked and cooled (I used frozen)
1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed and patted dry
4 stalks green onion, chopped (both green and white parts)
1-1/4 cups Lime Mayonnaise* (I used McCormick’s Mayonesa con jugo de limones, in the ethnic foods aisle)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper OR chili powder
Queso fresco, cotija, or grated Parmesan cheese to top
Chopped cilantro to top (optional)

1. Once your potatoes are peeled and cut in half, put them in a large pan and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and place on stove to boil. The vinegar is supposed to help the potatoes to not overcook, and the salt adds some flavor.

Mexican Potato Salad

2. Once your potatoes come to a boil, reduce the heat just slightly, cover, and let boil for 20-25 minutes or until tender. You can check by poking them with a fork.

3. While your potatoes are boiling, you can prep the rest of your ingredients.

4. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise (*if you can’t find or don’t want to get the lime mayonnaise, you can try using regular and adding the juice of half a lime), vinegar, cumin, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne or chili powder. Mix well, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator.

5. If you’re using frozen corn like I did, make sure you’re using one that does NOT include any sauce. Prepare the corn per the package directions and let it cool. If you’re using canned corn, make sure it’s not creamed corn. You don’t need to heat it up if you use canned, just drain and use as is.

On a sidenote, if it’s summer when you’re making this, I encourage you to take advantage of the harvest (and low prices) and use corn on the cob. Grill it for the most flavor, or boil it.

6. Once your potatoes are done, gently drain the water out of the pan (with a colander in the sink in case any fall out), and then place the potatoes on a flat surface to cool for at least 20 minutes.

Mexican Potato Salad

7. Then, carefully chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. To that bowl, add your cooled corn, red peppers, green onions, black beans and pour over your prepared sauce. Gently stir to combine, careful not to mash the potatoes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. You can eat it sooner, but the flavors really come alive the longer it chills.

8. To serve, crumble some queso fresco, cotija, or Parmesan cheese on top, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, and enjoy!

Con amore,

Serves 8
Prep time ~20 minutes
Cooking time ~20-25 minutes
Chill time 6 hours to overnight

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2 thoughts on “Mexican-Style Potato Salad

  1. Adding vinegar to water for boiling potatoes is a good tip. The acid prevents the pectin in potatoes from weakening, while allowing them to release starches that thicken the salad. It also boosts the tanginess of the flavor. Source — cooks illustrated.

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