We featured several North Dakota crops and products at last week’s dinner event at the Coteau des Prairies Lodge in Havana, N.D., and while nearly all of our creations were consumed that evening, we were delighted to find that we still had a fair supply of creamy red Buxton potatoes to bring home.
We first discovered these potatoes back in the fall of 2015 when a friend told us that the best red potatoes in the Red River Valley could be found at NoKota Packers in Buxton, N.D., which is located just south of Grand Forks. We made the trip up that fall to see for ourselves, and we can confirm that some of the best potatoes we’ve ever eaten can indeed be found in Buxton.
The NoKota Packers facility stores, washes and packages about 6 million pounds of Red Norland potatoes, which are grown by several farms in North Dakota and sold to various markets throughout the country. After harvesting, the potatoes are also available for walk-in sales from just after Labor Day through April and sometimes even into May.
We had the good fortune of getting the very last two 50-pound bags from last fall’s harvest, and even after our dinner, we’ll have enough left to enjoy throughout the summer. These potatoes have a natural creaminess that makes them perfect for mashed or whipped potato dishes, but they are hearty enough to stand up to a variety of potato recipes.
We first featured Buxton potatoes in our Oct. 28, 2015, column with a recipe for Rosemary Smashed Potatoes, and when we served them at last week’s event, we kept the skins on and whipped them with blue cheese, butter and cream for a savory side dish to pair with roast bison. At home, whipped potatoes are just a touch too hearty for us to make in the summer months, and these red beauties also perform well in this week’s Creamy Red Potato Salad.
This potato salad is the perfect side dish for barbecues, picnics and parties, especially as it is best when made a day in advance, giving the flavors time to meld together. The dressing is a creamy blend of sour cream, extra-virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey and white vinegar.
Sour cream pairs well with all potatoes and given the creamy nature of these Buxton taters, I knew that it would make a great base for the dressing. The dressing can be made several days in advance, making this an easy dish to prepare and assemble.
To complement the creamy richness of the potatoes and dressing, this salad also features the bright freshness of cucumbers and dill, as well as chives and red onion for spice and a sprinkling of capers for a touch of briny tang. This Creamy Red Potato Salad will work well with any red potatoes, and golden varieties will also do the trick in a pinch.
But mark your calendars, because even though we’re still in the early stages of our North Dakota summer, Labor Day will be here before you know it — and so will more of the Red River Valley’s best red potatoes.
Creamy Red Potato Salad
Serves: 6 to 8
5 to 6 large red potatoes, medium diced, peel on
¾ cup red onion, small diced (about half an onion)
2 cups English cucumber, quartered into slices ¼-inch thick, peel on
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons fresh dill
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Sour Cream Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fill a large pot with water. Add the diced potatoes and 2 teaspoons kosher salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are just fork tender — the potato should be tender enough for the fork to pierce it, but not soft enough for the fork to go all the way through.
Drain potatoes into a colander and then return to the empty pot. Fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the potatoes; let rest until potatoes are cool to the touch, then drain into a colander.
In a large bowl, add the cooled potatoes, red onion, cucumber and capers and gently toss to combine. Add ½ cup of the Sour Cream Vinaigrette and toss until ingredients are evenly coated. Add the capers, chives, salt and pepper and remaining ½ cup of vinaigrette and toss again. Taste and add more seasoning as desired.
For best results, refrigerate for at least 4 hours or even overnight to allow the potatoes to absorb the dressing. Before serving, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the salad and gently toss to moisten. Leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Sour Cream Vinaigrette
Makes: About 1 ¼ cups
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/3 to ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey until combined. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until creamy and fully emulsified. Add the salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Taste and add more seasoning and/or olive oil as desired.
The dressing is best when made at least 2 hours in advance and can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Recipe Time Capsule:
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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at email@example.com.