Friday, January 16, 2015

Do You Love Macaroni Salad?

I know, carbs and all that. Sometimes though, macaroni is just comfort food. And it tastes good. And there are so many ways to make macaroni. My husband, for one, just loves macaroni salad straight from the grocery store. I have to admit, I like it too, though less often. Somehow over the years, though I have made various iterations of a macaroni salad, it had yet to really end up with that creaminess that the store-bought kind has.
Macaroni Salad

Until now. I was trying to come up with something quick for supper. I was out of potatoes, my husband's first (side-dish) love. He isn't wild about rice, unless it has a lot of things added, or has a gravy to smother it. Macaroni it was, then. I ended up being inspired that day, because this macaroni salad was just creamy and delicious, and even better (in my honest opinion) that the store bought I had been trying to emulate.

What I did was something similar to how I make my Mustard Potato Salad, i.e. soaking the freshly cooked (potatoes) macaroni in a vinaigrette first, until cool. This has two wonderful effects. It soaks into the potatoes or macaroni while they cool, making them less likely to soak up and absorb all the mayo creaminess, resulting in a more moist and creamy end result. The second wonderful effect is that because of this pre-soaking, you need far less mayo or sour cream to make it all creamy.
Just look at all this creaminess!

Additions to the  macaroni salad can be most anything you'd like: things like olives, carrots, capers, cheese, peas, other chopped veggies like broccoli slaw or tiny broccoli or cauliflower florets (cooked or uncooked), hard boiled egg, etc. My husband is not fond of carrots, olives, broccoli or cauliflower. He loves peas, but I didn't think of those. I did use some of my pickled red onion, just because I have these made in the fridge and my husband will tolerate onions if pickled. If you do not have pickled onions, use 3 or 4 scallions, minced, or 1 shallot, minced. This is what I did:

Macaroni Salad

serves about 4

8 ounces macaroni (penne, shells, elbows, etc)

1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, optional
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced finely

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire for Chicken (the "Rooster Booster") 
OR 1 - 2 tablespoons regular Worcestershire Sauce, to taste

1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped pickled red onions
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper

Cook the macaroni to desired doneness. While macaroni is cooking, make the vinaigrette by whisking together in a large bowl all the vinaigrette ingredients until smooth and homogenous. Drain the macaroni well and pour it into the vinaigrette, tossing well to coat. Set aside to cool, or place in the refrigerator to speed chilling. Toss the macaroni a few times during the cooling process, both to speed cooling and to ensure all the macaroni is exposed to the vinaigrette evenly.

Mix together the Creamy mixture and set aside until the macaroni has cooled. Chop the vegetables and have these ready. Once macaroni cools, add in the creamy mixture and mix well, then stir in any vegetables you are using and the dish is ready to serve.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.