The Spicy Puree Bobby Flay Adds To Amplify Creamy Potato Salad

Potato salad may be one picnic staple that can tend toward blandness, but not the way Bobby Flay makes it. Taking inspiration from Southwestern cuisine, the Food Network star knows how to add heat to traditional dishes to elevate their flavor, and potato salad is one summertime favorite that he clearly thinks could use a Tex-Mex twist. The secret to its spicy flair? Flay's potato salad recipe includes a perfect measure of chipotle pepper puree.

While you might not find the Iron Chef's iteration at your typical cookout or picnic, Bobby Flay's chipotle potato salad is based on a version he once served at Mesa Grill, with locations in New York and Las Vegas that are now closed. He takes the typical staples found in a potato salad (mayonnaise, dijon mustard, boiled potatoes) and adds Southwestern touches like lime juice, diced tomato, cilantro, and the chipotle puree with a pinch of cayenne. Though the chipotle puree may not be a traditional potato salad add-in, it works well — the heat from the spicy chipotle balances the creamy mayonnaise, actually cutting through some of its richness and making you want to go back for bite after bite.

Chipotle puree adds a balanced heat

To spice up your potato salad like Bobby Flay does, you'll have to get your hands on that key additional ingredient. Chipotles are jalapeños that have been smoked and dried, and they're often packed in an acidic, tomato-based sauce called adobo. Some grocery stores will carry chipotle peppers in adobo or the actual puree in the international aisle. If you can't find the latter, you can easily turn a can of chipotle peppers in adobo into a puree by blitzing it in the blender or food processor. You'll only need a teaspoon or two of the chipotle puree — enough for the smokiness to linger on the tongue — because the heat can be intense. It's jalapeño, after all. 

Provided you don't use too much chipotle, the mayonnaise in your salad will balance it out; it's a flavor combination that's growing in popularity. The tangy, smoky heat of the chipotle pairs well with the cooling mayonnaise. Flay also slathers the combination — with a squeeze of lime — on his sliders for a spicy kick. If you're not a fan of mayo or are just looking for another way to use up your remaining chipotle puree, it has other delicious uses in dips, eggs, meat marinades, and even cocktails, like a Bloody Mary or a Michelada. Try it out if you want to add a taste of Flay's once-beloved restaurant to your summer picnic dishes!