We're not ones to shy away from excess: Take, for example, Chex Mix roasted in duck fat, or a mortadella-enriched Bolognese sauce. But when we heard that Paul Qui, the chef at Austin, Texas' newly opened brick-and-mortar location of East Side King, uses four bottles (!) of Kewpie mayonnaise in his Japanese potato salad, our jaws hit the floor. Qui, an admitted Kewpie addict, first introduced the potato salad during a family meal at Uchi. It combines slightly mashed potatoes with Kewpie mayonnaise (our test kitchen adjusted the amount) and a crisp trio of sliced cucumber, carrot and onion. We're already planning our next picnic.
Japanese Potato Salad
Recipe adapted from Paul Qui, East Side King, Austin, TX
Yield: 8 servings
Cook Time: 20 minutes (plus 20 minutes cooling and 30 minutes chilling)
3 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3 Idaho potatoes, chopped into 1-inch cubes and rinsed under cold water
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced into ⅛-inch rounds
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced into ⅛-inch rounds
One 17-ounce bottle Kewpie mayonnaise
½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
½ cup distilled white vinegar
1. Fill a large pot with water and 3 tablespoons of the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the cubed potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until a paring knife easily slips into the largest one, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet to cool. Once they come to room temperature, refrigerate the potatoes for 30 minutes.
2. To a large bowl, add ice and water and set aside. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the carrots to the water and blanch until tender, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the carrots to the ice water to cool, then drain them in a colander and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
3. In a medium bowl, add the cucumber and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and let sit for 10 minutes. Pour off any liquid that pools in the bottom of the bowl.
4. To a large bowl, add the cooled potatoes and roughly mash. Add the Kewpie mayonnaise and stir to combine, then add the onion, vinegar, carrots and cucumber and stir to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving.