I am lucky. I grew up in a family where both my parents cooked. In fact, my dad’s borscht was deemed to be the best in the family, and that’s saying quite a lot. Food was always a way to show love and hospitality. I’m not sure whether that’s a trait of all Russians or all Jews: I’m both. The first thing you do when someone comes into your home is offer them something to eat and drink.
Growing up in Russia, we had somewhat limited food supplies, and my parents created meals from whatever ingredients they could find in a grocery store or in the fully stocked pantry my dad built for all of my mom’s jams, pickled vegetables and compotes. Cookbooks were rarely used. And that’s exactly how I cook to this day despite the fact that I can pretty much find any ingredient at my local grocery store.
This mayo-free grilled potato salad with black beans and goat cheese came about because of my love of potatoes, a pot of black beans I happened to cook a night before and leftover goat cheese. Although I love mayonnaise sometimes I just prefer a lighter dish. If you don’t have a grill, you can use a panini maker, a grill pan or roast the potatoes. Feel free to customize this recipe by using chickpeas or green beans, feta, and adding other ingredients such as cherry tomatoes and olives.
It’s best to eat this salad while the potatoes are still warm because the dressing gets absorbed better and you get a great contrast between hot potatoes and creamy cold goat cheese.
2 yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1/4 cup black beans (I cooked mine from scratch, but you can use canned ones)
1/3 cup goat cheese
For the dressing:
1 part lemon juice
1 part olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Drizzle potato rounds with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and sumac. “Grill” in a Panini maker for 15-20 minutes. Make sure your potatoes are completely cooked through!!
Layer potatoes on a plate with black beans and goat cheese.
Whisk all ingredients for the dressing and drizzle on the salad. Garnish with fresh basil.