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Nick Jirasek Shares His Recipe for Bohemian Charred Potato Salad

The chef at Avondale’s Old Habits shows us how to make this flavorful side dish.

Photo: Jeff Marini

These are not your grandma’s spuds. Unless, that is, she charred her potatoes directly in glowing hot coals. That’s what Nick Jirasek, the chef at the Avondale spot Old Habits (2959 N. California Ave.), suggests doing for this boldly flavored—and vegan—take on a classic picnic side dish.

Nick Jirasek’s Bohemian Charred Potato Salad

Serves:4 to 6 (as a side)
Time:1 hour

2 lb. Small to medium new potatoes, washed
½ cup Celery salt or table salt
2 Tbsp. Pepper
3 heaping Tbsp. Whole grain mustard
1 cup Olive oil
1 Large dill pickle, diced, plus 1 Tbsp. of its juice
4 Cloves garlic
4 Celery stalks, plus leaves, chopped
1 Bunch green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp. Toasted caraway seeds
1 Bunch fresh dill, chopped
½ cup Nutritional yeast

1. In a grill, build a large charcoal fire and allow coals to fully ash over. Bury potatoes directly in hot coals and cook until potatoes are fork-tender and charred, about 30 to 45 minutes. If you don’t have a grill, place potatoes on a sheet pan and broil on high, rotating every 10 minutes, until fork-tender and charred.

2. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, gently rinse off ash, pat them dry, and cut into bite-size chunks. Season with celery salt and pepper.

3. Combine mustard, olive oil, pickle juice, and garlic in a blender and blend on high until emulsified. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with dressing, diced pickle, celery, green onions, caraway, dill, and yeast until potatoes are evenly coated. (Note: Make the salad a few hours ahead to let the flavors meld.)

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