South American Salad

49 Comments

According to Amazon, I purchased this cookbook in May of 2006. I don’t remember why I purchased it – for one thing I’d never heard of David Rosengarten, and secondly, it turns out the book is about party menus.

Menus are my favorite things to put together! So I didn’t expect to like the book.

Not only does he have a chapter for every theme party, like Love Me Tandoor, Tunisia for Twelve, and Zorba the Grill, plus recipes for food and drink, there are ideas for set dressing and table dressing, what we now call tablescapes. Plus, he provides resources.

Now, I’ve never been Martha Stewarty enough to buy lanterns for the garden for my themed party – heck, I’ve never had a themed party. Although I have many playlists. My Mexican playlist doesn’t usually last beyond the first hour. Such picky friends.

In any case, I ended up loving this book. The guy knows his cuisines, and the menus really are wonderful.

The book, published in 2005, shows five testimonials on the back cover, from Lidia Bastianich, Chef Marcus Samuelson, Ted Allen, Gale Gand, and Stanley Lobel. Turns out the guy has won two James Beard Awards. And I’ve still never heard of him!

The recipe I want to share I’d made once for the blog, when I was so excited to share special dishes I loved, but before I could take decent photos of them.

This salad is one of those. It’s from the South American Steak on the Grill party, which has the least cutest name of all featured in the book. I’ve actually made most all of the recipes from his South American menu, but this salad really stands out.

The salad contains tomatoes, potatoes, avocados, purple onions, hard boiled eggs, and a parsley vinaigrette. So it’s also lovely.

South American Salad
Serves 12
Slightly adapted

1 pound waxy potatoes, peeled
4 firm ripe Haas avocados
Fresh lime juice
Kosher salt
Handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 medium purple onion, cut into 1/2” dice
8 firm, ripe medium tomatoes, cored, cut into 1/2” dice
Freshly ground black pepper
8 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled

Boil the potatoes in salted water until cooked but still firm. Drain and cool. Quarter, and cut quarters into 1/2” slices. Place in a large serving bowl.

Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop out the flesh in one motion using a large spoon, then cut into 1/2” dice. Drizzle with fresh lime juice over all surfaces, toss with salt, then add the avocados to the bowl with the potatoes.


Add the parsley to the potatoes and avocados. Add the onion and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the vinaigrette (below) to taste, tossing gently but well.

Cut the eggs into quarters lengthwise then cut each quarter in half. Add the eggs to the salad, and toss just enough to combine the eggs with the other ingredients.

Or, just lay the eggs on top of the tossed salad, which is what I do.


Taste for season, serve with more vinaigrette on the side.

The only negative of this salad is that it can look a bit messy. That’s actually why I use bigger chunks of potatoes, and try to use ripe but firm avocados, if possible.

But the most important thing is to not mess with it much. Toss gently, and leave it alone.

The salad is truly magnificent with the fresh vinaigrette and the lovely colors, flavors, and textures.

Parsley Vinaigrette
Makes 2 cups

2-3 shallots, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Place all of the ingredients into a blender jar. Blend until smooth.

49 thoughts on “South American Salad

  1. I made a very similar salad for lunch today actually. I add a few black olives and always make my vinaigrette with cilantro instead of parsley. It is simply delicious.

  2. Mimi, don’t feel bad, I didn’t recognized him either. Looked him up in Wikipedia and he’s a the real deal. The book sounds great.
    As good as the book sounds that salad looks even better. It has everything a Swede loves in a potato salad. Can’t wait to try it out on my Swedish foodie friends.

    • It’s a great salad. I was disappointed in the waxy potatoes I purchased, which ended up being starchy instead. Thus the salad looks less pretty than it should be. And I know because I just made it again by request for my friend’s get together 3 nights ago. But since my husband doesn’t like fresh tomatoes, avocados, or eat anything with vinegar, I didn’t want to re-do the salad just to photograph it!

  3. A nice light salad with brain food. A win win. :) I like themed parties as well but it never quite meet what I imagined. I guess because there would be an investment to go all in. I did do a murder mystery pirate night for my husband once. That was fun.

    • Well if that’s your thing, I’m sure the book is still for sale. Or, there’s Martha Stewart’s Entertaining…

  4. David Rosengarten is great! Way back in the dark ages when the Food Network was just starting — and when it featured actual cooking instead of life-style stuff — he was one of their early hosts. He knows a ton about wine, and is a pretty good cook — he’s the author of the _Dean and DeLuca Cookbook_ — if you don’t know that cookbook, it’s worth looking up. Anyway, terrific looking salad –= thanks.

  5. Oh yes, I have a few cookbooks like that and then they turn out to have fabulous recipes and I’m turning to those cookbooks all the time! Can’t wait for our avocado tree to fruit again to make this salad. It looks like it could be a complete meal for me – delicious. PS I don’t buy avocados because I’m always disappointed. Having your own tree does that, I think.

    • Oh my, you make me miss living in California where I picked avocados, and plenty of other things fresh off of trees! We’re going through a terrible period with avocados right now.

  6. I have never heard of him either! But the salad sounds delicious and a wonderful vegetarian main dish.

    • Yes, with the avocados it’s really healthy besides! Avocado is my favorite protein, but I love the eggs as well.

  7. Sounds delicious! Beautiful photos too! I’ve never heard of him either but I have heard of the 5 people that did testimonials! Lol!

  8. Sounds like you find a diamond in the rough…err, diamond in the bookshelf…on this one, Mimi! I love a good themed party, so this book sounds right up my alley. I’m not familiar with this South American salad, but it sounds amazing! And perfect for entertaining friends. Yum!

  9. I love a good salad and never heard of him either, but when you think about how many chefs there are… I get the Dean and DeLuca food catalog once or twice a year and love all of the ideas I get for making appetizers. The food is rather expensive to buy… I might have to invest in the cookbook :)

  10. I never heard of this guy either but that salad dressing looks really good and winning two James Beard awards is fantastic.Thanks for sharing.

    • Some people might not like the idea of potatoes and tomatoes together, but every time I serve this salad people want the recipe!

  11. I don’t mind if it looks little messy.The ingredients are wonderful and if I treat them right, like you suggest, it must be heavenly good ….Thank you Mimi :-)

    • If I was a good blogger, I would have done something different with the potatoes that were more mealy than waxy and bought actually waxy potatoes. But I’m impulsive and impatient and just had to do the salad on that specific day! The potatoes really broke apart, sadly. I’ve since made it again, by request, and the salad looked so much prettier. I should have taken my camera to the party!!!

  12. I’m making this one as soon as I get back from Mexico. It’s just the kind of thing you can prep in the AM of a hot day and put together later… GREG

    • The combination of the tomatoes and potatoes is interesting enough. But boy does it work! Definitely get waxy potatoes – I bought some that really fell apart. I should have gone back to the store, but I was determined to make the salad that day! But you get the idea. The components/ingredients together are summer perfection.

    • Definitely! It’s a great salad – you must make it. The only thing is that I don’t sprinkle as much parsley in the salad, i use most all of it in the vinaigrette. I just don’t like chewing on parsley.

  13. I am a big fan of David Rosengarten – I have been reading him for decades! As you say, he really does know his cuisines. I don’t know this book, but I love his theme menus. Very clever! Unlike you, we do often give themed dinner parties. It’s lots of fun, but we don’t play music generally because it just makes it too loud for everybody to talk to one another. The older we get, the less we can hear! ;)

    • Ha! My husband is always turning down my music, which I don’t think is loud in the first place! But it depends on the get together! So glad to finally have someone know this famous (?) mystery chef! The book is great, and I know you’d enjoy the party themes!

  14. This post really made me smile Chef Mimi…. I hear you re ‘themed parties’…. so not my thing but my daughter is an actress and has insisted ion a few over the years (18th & 21st). Having said that…my next BIG birthday in in 2.5 year and I think I’ll have a 60’s party… I bet you have a great play list for that 😊 Lovely salad too…..

    • Oh, I certainly do! Although I’d I’d to go with the Al Green, Temptations and Beachboys 60’s over the Joan Baez folk 60’s. That would be depressing! I still remember your home-made eggnog, by the way. That was fabulous! You’re a great hostess!

    • It’s seriously good. I guarantee – everyone who has is will fall in love with it. That’s what’s happened to me over the years.

  15. Ah, I remember him from the very earliest days of the Food Network. Back when it was really a “food network” and not a travesty. Beautiful salad.

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