Zahtar Potato Salad

Zahtar Potato Salad

Zahtar or Za’atar is a middle eastern spice blend that I’ve not had the pleasure to work with a lot with over the years. It’s a real shame because I love it!  Earthy and nutty with hints of citrus makes it wonderful with so many foods.  Hummus and pita are probably the first things people think of when they associate it, but it goes way beyond.  Great with chicken, eggs and potatoes to name a few. I recently came across a Zahtar Egg Salad and figured why not incorporate it into a potato salad, and Zahtar Potato Salad was born. 

I was not far off the mark thinking it would be delicious. The combination of briny, salty olives and creamy mayonnaise brings baby potatoes to life and makes for a great Mediterranean version.  Even though I prefer the  mayonnaise based potato salad, I did experiment with a warm salad version using olive oil to dress it instead of the mayonnaise.  It too was a tasty version of potato salad but I just couldn’t stop scooping up the creamier version.  Maybe because that was the way my mom used to make it and by far the type I’ve eaten most in my life. 

The Zahtar I purchased contains salt, so I therefore found it was not necessary to add additional salt in this recipe.  If your Zahtar does not contain salt,  be sure to add salt to taste. You can also make your own if desired, here is a simple recipe from The Genius Kitchen

Recipe source for Zahtar Potato Salad:  Inspired by Bon Appetit Mediterranean Egg Salad

Zahtar Potato Salad
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    5 cups 30 minutes
    Cook Time
    12 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    5 cups 30 minutes
    Cook Time
    12 minutes
    Zahtar Potato Salad
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      5 cups 30 minutes
      Cook Time
      12 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      5 cups 30 minutes
      Cook Time
      12 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: cups
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and place pine nuts in a single layer on a small baking tray or pie plate. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes, turning at least once until golden. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to use.
      2. Heat enough water to just cover the eggs and simmer gently for no more than 12 minutes. Drain and immediately cool under cold running water. Once cooled, peel and coarsely chop.
      3. Steam or boil baby potatoes in simmering lightly salted water until just fork tender, about 8-10 minutes depending on size. Drain and cool under cold water. Allow potatoes to drain thoroughly once cool.
      4. Cut potatoes into bite size pieces, usually a baby potato cut in half or quartered makes for a nice size.
      5. In a medium size bowl stir together red onion, green olives, mayonnaise, greek yogurt, Zahtar and salt and pepper. Add chopped potatoes, eggs, pine nuts and cilantro. Gently stir into mayonnaise until combined. Serve immediately sprinkled with additional cilantro if desired. Can be chilled for several hours prior to serving if needed. Best served the day it is made.
      Recipe Notes

      -For time management, the potatoes, pine nuts and eggs can be cooked at the same time.

      -The Zahtar I used contained salt, so little extra salt was needed. However, if your brand does not include salt you will need to adjust seasoning to taste.

      Kohlrabi Crab Cakes

      Kohlrabi Crab Cakes

      Are you growing kohlrabi in your garden this year? Fresh kohlrabi is amazing, and with it, you’ll be able to treat yourself to these lovely Kohlrabi Crab Cakes.  They make a wonderful lunch served with dill sauce and a green salad. Not home for lunch most days?  Try them as an appetizer, or top with a poached egg for a heartier meal.

      If you happen to have a little fresh kohlrabi left, trim, peel and cut into sticks.  Dunk the fresh sticks in leftover dill sauce or your favourite veggie dip.   You will love how crisp and refreshing the kohlrabi is and wonder why you haven’t been munching on it sooner.  Kohlrabi is also great in stews, soup, gratins, and salads.

      Recipe source for Kohlrabi Crab Cakes:  Compelled To Cook

      Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
        Cook Time
        20 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
        Cook Time
        20 minutes
        Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
          Cook Time
          20 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          10 3-4" cakes 25-30 minutes
          Cook Time
          20 minutes
          Ingredients
          Dill Sauce
          Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
          Servings: 3-4" cakes
          Instructions
          Dill Sauce
          1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and keep chilled until ready to use.
          Kohlrabi Crab Cakes
          1. Trim ends off kohlrabi and peel with a vegetable peeler. Grate using a large grater and add to a separate bowl. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry with a paper towel. Using the same large grater, peel and grate potato and pat dry with a paper towel. Add to kohlrabi.
          2. In a large bowl stir together egg, dill, dijon mustard, celery salt and pepper. Stir in drained crab meat, prepped and dried grated kohlrabi and potato, bread crumbs, flour and green onions.
          3. Add about 1 tbsp of oil to a large non stick skillet and heat over medium heat until hot. Form approximately 1/4 cup of batter into a 3-4" round patty. Flatten as much as you can while still retaining its shape. Pan fry for 5-6 minutes per side, adjusting heat if necessary. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and keep warm in a low oven while cooking any remaining cakes. Serve immediately with dill sauce.
          Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad

          Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad

          Picnic and BBQ season is almost upon us. Don’t bring just any ordinary potato salad to the party! Show up with creamy Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad instead. Cool, crisp fennel meets up with plump little shrimp in a creamy dressing that’s freshened up with fennel fronds. Familiar yet deliciously different is why Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad will become your new picnic favourite.

          What’s potato salad to you? For me it’s a combination of summers at the lake and my mother. We only ate potato salad during the warmer summer months and my mother always made a deliciously creamy potato salad. It was on the traditional side, with eggs, celery, radish, mustard, mayo and maybe a little pickle juice. If I had it today, it would taste like a memory from my teenage years and fun at the lake. Who knew a bowl of potato salad could mean so much!

          Skipping forward a couple decades, I still love a traditional potato salad, but here I wanted to keep the same creaminess but sub in cool and crisp fennel and meaty little shrimp for a lovely riff on a childhood favourite. Enjoy!

          Recipe source for Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad:  Compelled To Cook

           

          Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            6-8 people 25 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
            Servings Prep Time
            6-8 people 25 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
            Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              6-8 people 25 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
              Servings Prep Time
              6-8 people 25 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
              Ingredients
              Servings: people
              Instructions
              1. In a large pot, cover potatoes with 1" of salted water. Simmer until potatoes are just tender, approximately 10-12 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch. Drain well and chill potatoes until completely cold.
              2. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, white wine vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
              3. Trim bottom off of fennel bulb and pluck off fronds. Cut bulb in half, removing outer layer if needed to clean it up. Cut each half in half again and thinly slice each quarter including stems until you have approximately 1 1/2 cups. Save a few fronds for garnish and coarsely chop the remainder.
              4. Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel and combine with potatoes, sliced fennel, fennel fronds and green onions. Add dressing and toss to combine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve. Can be chilled for 1-2 hours prior to serving, but best if served the day it is made.
              Recipe Notes

              Makes a generous 4 cups of salad.

              Pesto Swirl Mashed Potatoes

              Pesto Swirl Mashed Potatoes

              I’ve never met a bowl of mashed potatoes I didn’t like and Pesto Swirl Mashed Potatoes are proof that not all mashed potatoes need to be smothered in gravy.  These zesty and herbaceous potatoes need nothing more than a side of your favourite roasted meat.

              A simple recipe that brings life to an everyday side dish and the pesto can be made ahead of time and simply swirled in at the last minute.  Like so many people I am prone to making the same things time and time again. Mashed potatoes are a good example of this behaviour.  Boil, mash, add butter, a little milk, salt and pepper.  The same thing over and over and at times it’s out of convenience, or time pressures and sometimes because my brain needs a rest from thinking of food (who am I kidding, it never stops thinking of food).  Whatever your reason, let this recipe pull you out of that rut for a brightened up bowl of everyones favourite side.

              I love this Pesto Swirl Mashed Potato recipe because the basil pesto gives mashed potatoes a fresh and bright makeover.  The toasted pine nuts add a little crunchy texture that tells your palette it’s not eating just any mashed potatoes.  Enjoy!

              Recipe Source:  Compelled To Cook

               

              Pesto Swirl Mashed Potatoes are bright and zesty swirly with basil pesto and topped with toasted pine nuts.
              Pesto Swirl Mashed Potatoes
              Print Recipe
              Herbaceous and bright basil pesto swirled into creamy mashed potatoes and topped with toasted pine nuts.
                Servings
                8 servings
                Servings
                8 servings
                Pesto Swirl Mashed Potatoes are bright and zesty swirly with basil pesto and topped with toasted pine nuts.
                Pesto Swirl Mashed Potatoes
                Print Recipe
                Herbaceous and bright basil pesto swirled into creamy mashed potatoes and topped with toasted pine nuts.
                  Servings
                  8 servings
                  Servings
                  8 servings
                  Ingredients
                  Basil Pesto
                  Mashed Potatoes
                  Servings: servings
                  Instructions
                  Basil Pesto
                  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Spread 1/4 cup of pine nuts evenly onto small baking tray, bake for approximately 10-12 minutes until golden. Set aside and allow to cool. In a food processor bowl combine basil, 1/4 cup of untoasted pine nuts, cheese, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Pulse until the mixture is broken down and finely chopped. With processor running, gradually add oil and process until smooth, approximately 10 seconds. Set aside. Makes about a 1/2 cup.
                  Mashed Potatoes
                  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add potatoes and cook until very tender. Drain potatoes and return pot to low heat and allow any residual moisture to evaporate, 1-2 minutes. Mash potatoes or press through a ricer. Add butter, and mash just to combine. Mash in salt, pepper and enough milk to make creamy. Top potatoes with 3/4 of the pesto and fold into potatoes with a flat rubber spatula. Drizzle remaining pesto on top and garnish with toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.
                  Recipe Notes

                  The basil pesto can easily be prepared while the potatoes are cooking.

                  Mexican Jalapeño Cheddar Croquettes

                  Mexican Jalapeño Cheddar Croquettes

                  Mexican Jalapeno Cheddar Croquettes piled high in while bowl and garnished with fresh cilantro.

                  follow

                  With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, you are bound to have leftover mashed potatoes. Mexican Jalapeño Cheddar Croquettes will be your reason not to forget them at the back of the fridge. Maybe you even still have company and need to put out a few snacks. These little potato bombs are super crispy, cheesy and just a little spicy. They’re perfect for passing around and dipping in your favourite salsa.

                  A bit of information on the recipe today. First, I chose to amp up the coating by using ground-up corn tortilla chips mixed with panko breadcrumbs. Panko instead of regular breadcrumbs because they’re coarser and give more crunch than fine breadcrumbs. Homemade breadcrumbs would have a similar result as you could control the grind. For the tortilla crumbs, I used Tostitos Extra Thick tortilla chips but any corn tortilla chip will do. Don’t be skimpy on the coating and pack on as much as the egg wash will hold. This will ensure a thick coating and help hold in the melty cheese trying to escape.

                  I chose to shape the croquettes into approximate 2” long ovals, but round or tubular will also work. I think for sharing, forming into a 1 3/4” ball would be best. A better crunch to soft potato ratio in my opinion and therefore more snacky like. However, if you’re having them with a salad, the larger oval is a good fit. I’m not that fussy, just sharing my thoughts on the matter.

                  I love this recipe because of the tortilla breadcrumb coating. It makes for an amazing crunch and cooks to a picture-perfect golden. Using pickled jalapeños not only softens the heat of the pepper but adds a little acidity to all the starchy potato and melty cheese. As a bonus, these Mexican Jalapeño Cheddar Croquettes are a great way to use up any leftover mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

                  Mexican Jalapeno Cheddar Croquettes piled high in while bowl and garnished with fresh cilantro.

                  Mexican Jalapeno Cheddar Croquettes piled high in while bowl and garnished with fresh cilantro.
                  Mexican Jalapeno Cheddar Croquettes
                  Print Recipe
                  Super crispy little potato bombs filled with cheddar and jalapeño.
                    Servings Prep Time
                    20-22 croquettes 15 minutes
                    Cook Time Passive Time
                    15 minutes 20 minutes
                    Servings Prep Time
                    20-22 croquettes 15 minutes
                    Cook Time Passive Time
                    15 minutes 20 minutes
                    Mexican Jalapeno Cheddar Croquettes piled high in while bowl and garnished with fresh cilantro.
                    Mexican Jalapeno Cheddar Croquettes
                    Print Recipe
                    Super crispy little potato bombs filled with cheddar and jalapeño.
                      Servings Prep Time
                      20-22 croquettes 15 minutes
                      Cook Time Passive Time
                      15 minutes 20 minutes
                      Servings Prep Time
                      20-22 croquettes 15 minutes
                      Cook Time Passive Time
                      15 minutes 20 minutes
                      Ingredients
                      Croquettes
                      Breading
                      Servings: croquettes
                      Instructions
                      Croquettes
                      1. In a large bowl stir together mashed potatoes, sour cream, egg, salt and pepper until well combined. Stir in cheddar cheese, jalapeño and chives. Place approximately 3 tbsp of mixture in the palm of your hand and roll into a 2" long oval. Continue with remaining potato, placing each on a tray when formed. If shaping round, use a one ounce cookie scoop. Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes. Can be done several hours ahead.
                      2. Place several croquettes into flour and turn to coat. Shake off excess and dunk in egg wash, turning to coat completely. Scoop out of egg wash and roll in breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere and coat completely. Set aside on a tray and repeat with remaining croquettes.
                      3. Using a deep fryer or large pot with at least 3" of oil, heat to 350℉. Gently place as many croquettes that will fit (without overcrowding) into the pot. Maintaining 350℉ cook for 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted scoop remove croquettes to a paper towel-lined plate. Keep warm in a low oven and repeat with remaining croquettes. Serve immediately with your favourite salsa.
                      Breading
                      1. Using three shallow dishes, in the first combine ground tortilla chips, breadcrumbs and chill powder. In the second whisk eggs with milk. For the third, generously season the flour with salt and pepper. Arrange dishes for breading station starting with flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs.
                      Recipe Notes

                      -Pulse tortilla chips in a mini processor until the size of panko breadcrumbs.  If a processor is unavailable, place tortilla chips in a sealable bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

                      -The recipe will yield about 36 croquettes if made round and using a one-ounce scoop.

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