The Vegetable Bobby Flay Throws On The Grill For Upgraded Flavor

Potato salad is a comforting and crowd-pleasing option at any barbecue or cookout. But if you want to take yours to the next level and really wow guests, then it's worth taking a tip from Bobby Flay. The chef adds an additional step to his potato salad prep: He grills the spuds for an extra-flavorful result.

Usually, the tubers are simply boiled before they're dressed and transformed into a basic potato salad. It makes for a tender texture, but they can sometimes be a little on the bland side. Since the dish is often served cold, it needs a greater amount of seasoning to achieve a tasty result because our taste buds don't respond as well to colder foods as they do to hotter ones. But Flay's method of grilling the tubers first means they take on an additional depth of delicious smoky flavor from the grill.

It's always worth boiling potatoes before grilling them, however, which Bobby Flay endorses (via YouTube). It means you can infuse them with more flavor from the seasoned water before they hit the heat. Plus, it reduces the time they take on the grill and ensures a more even finish since they're already par-cooked. Flay advises cooking the spuds in salted water for about eight minutes before they're ready for the grill — just make sure to dry them first, as they will brown better.

Use a basket or foil wrap to grill potatoes easily

Flay cuts his parboiled potatoes into fairly small pieces, quartering the baby reds before they go on the grill. Rather than cooking them directly on the grates, he likes to use a grill basket, which makes it much easier to move them on and off the heat. "If you put these on individually, you're bound to lose a few," he explains (via YouTube).

The chef dresses the quartered spuds with a drizzle of oil to stop them sticking during grilling. When it comes to canola versus olive oil, Flay has a clear favorite and almost always opts for canola, which has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, making it ideal for high-temperature grill cooking. Salt and pepper add extra flavor. The tubers only take around five minutes to become nicely charred and tender on a medium-hot grill.

If you don't have a grill basket, you can make a foil packet to effortlessly grill potato wedges. You can also cook potatoes directly on the grill. It's worth cutting them into halves or larger slices if you're doing this since they will be easier to move on and off the heat. Not only that, they look extra-appealing thanks to the char marks, too. Just make sure to grill them a little longer if the pieces are on the bigger side, and turn them halfway so each side cooks evenly.

More tips for a flavorful grilled potato salad

To get the best taste and texture, Bobby Flay's dressing tip for ultra-flavorful potato salad is to dress the spuds while they're still warm, rather than letting them cool first. The starches will soak up flavor much more easily that way. It's a technique he uses for grilled potato salad, too. A dressing rich with Dijon mustard, bright zesty lemon, honey, and fresh herbs is an easy way to add an instant boost to the dish.

Another way Flay likes to add extra flavor is by incorporating extra ingredients into his grilled potato salad. Tangy, creamy goat cheese and peppery baby arugula really make the flavors sing and create a delightful textural contrast. The chef's advice is to only fold delicate ingredients together once, so the arugula doesn't wilt, and the cheese doesn't melt into a mess.

If you fancy a different flavor profile to your potato salad, try adding cooked bacon and scallions to a cider vinegar dressing. Go for mayo and sharp dill pickles, with a little brine for tang but keep in mind that mayo may split if added to hot potatoes. Spice things up with peppers, charred red onions, and basil. Or grill halved lemons — one of the best fruits to grill — for a sweeter, more intense flavor. Then use the juice to make a vibrant dressing mixed with olive oil, mustard, and fresh herbs. Potato salad just got promoted from side dish to star attraction.