Hawaii’s mac salad is not the summer standard of cookouts on the mainland (what locals call the rest of the United States). The pasta is cooked past al dente, until swoony and soft all the way through. In this version from the chef Mark Noguchi, Gooch to friends, there’s a little punch-up of Tabasco and trace sweetness, like a sidelong glance, from grated carrots and a grace note of sugar. The marquee ingredient, of course, is mayonnaise. ‘‘Just so you know, you’ll be using a lot of mayo,’’ Gooch warns. ‘‘Obscene, guarantee-going-to-make-you-raise-your-eyebrow kine of lot.” Yet somehow what you end up with is richness without weight, leavened by tang and salt. In Hawaii, a scoop would be served with a plate lunch, alongside rice and a main dish, like chicken katsu.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 1pound russet potatoes or 1/2 pound russet potatoes and 1/2 pound taro (see Tip)
- 4large eggs
- 1pound macaroni
- 1carrot, peeled and grated through the large holes of a box grater
- 3cups mayonnaise
- 1teaspoon garlic salt
- ½teaspoon sugar
- ½teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
- ½teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Hot sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste
Step 1If using taro, put on kitchen gloves and wash the taro. Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a pot with a steamer insert, then put the taro in the insert and cover tightly with a lid. Steam until tender, about 3 hours. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Use a paring knife to remove the skin, then cut into 1-inch cubes.
Step 2Fill a large saucepan with water and add a generous pinch of salt, so the water tastes like the ocean. Scrub the potatoes, then add to the saucepan — there should be just enough water to cover — and bring up to a simmer over medium-high heat. (Don’t go for a roiling boil because you want to keep the potatoes intact.) Simmer until a paring knife inserted in the center goes in and out smoothly, 20 to 40 minutes. The potatoes should look barely translucent and have small cracks and a slightly crumbly texture on the surface. Drain carefully and turn out onto a sheet pan. When cool, peel and cut into 1-inch cubes.
Step 3Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the eggs and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice and water. Replenish the boiling water, if needed, and add the macaroni. Cook until softened all the way through, at least 2 minutes past al dente. Drain well and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking.
Step 4When the noodles are cool, drain well and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Peel the eggs and grate them on the large holes of a box grater. Add them to the bowl, along with the potatoes, taro (if using), carrot, mayonnaise, garlic salt, sugar, black pepper, apple cider vinegar and hot sauce. Mix well with a spoon and adjust the seasonings to taste. Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.