Friday, May 8, 2009

Harissa Potato Salad


3/4 lb. blue fingerling potatoes, boiled and then sliced into medium pieces
2 large celery stalks, minced
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar, divided
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. (or to taste, depending on spice preference) harissa
1/2 tsp. dried garlic
1 tsp. paprika
chopped celery leaves, to garnish
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
1 can 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon

1) Sprinkle one tbsp. of the vinegar on the freshly sliced boiled potatoes when still hot.
2) Whisk remaining ingredients in a bowl, adjusting flavors if necessary.
3) Stir into potatoes and serve.
4) Pop open can of Hell or High Watermelon.
5) Enjoy together.

I have to be completely honest, this is a fantastic beer but a really difficult pairing--I mean to say, who puts watermelon juice in beer? And then, who buys it? And then, what the hell does it go with? Well, we happened to know for a fact that 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, CA makes a fantastic vat of malt drink, so back in the day on the way to a Giants game or some such, we gave this odd brew what a friend of ours calls a taste-gander. Turns out it's phenomenal--balanced, not sweet, just a delicate hint of refreshing fruit on the nose and on the palate due to a secondary fermentation with fresh watermelon. Honestly, I don't know when I've ever had a better fruit beer, or one with a lighter touch. As a result, when we discovered that they now distribute the stuff in cans, we were delighted. Everyone pick up this beer when you can! It's lovely, and unique, and subtle.

Well, that left us with the pairing problem. How do you pair a watermelon beer? Turns out, you just drink it in the summer at a picnic and don't worry your pretty, sunstroked little mind about it too much. Now that the weather has finally turned and we're outdoors again, we're ready for action--a frisbee, a garden party, an open-air film. Potato salad is a classic summer side dish, so this slightly spicier version should treat you well paired with a cold beer in a foam koozie.

I had my first book signing for Dust and Shadow at Otto Penzler's Mysterious Bookshop last Tuesday, and despite my severe fears on the subject, I neither forgot my name, nor Sherlock Holmes's name, nor the ability to make a joke, nor did I spontaneously combust, and I was duly shocked by all of those felicities. All my friends who could make it were there, and they bought a pile of my books and a bottle of Dom and made me cry. They're truly lovely.

All the press info I've been getting lately, reviews, signing schedules, etc., are over at my website. It's not related to food and thus perhaps uninteresting to some, but Sherlock Holmes does mention curry at one point, and blood sausage at another, and I'm pretty sure Watson has eggs for breakfast.

This is a picture of me looking deliriously happy because my book has finally been released, and all that time I feared they might just be kidding me. It would have been an elaborate prank, but nevertheless a possibility.

1 comment:

William said...

Hey there . . . hope you try the Orange Marmalade and Horseradish crusted Salmon . . . it tis gooood.

Loved the book . . . the ending was fab and it did take me much longer to read than I would have hoped but . . . too much work to do . . . yikes. It was too much fun meeting you and I will be anxiously awaiting your next book.

I am certain it will be a hit . . . remember the little people when you are R&F.


Bill Whitehead