Tuesday, June 01, 2010

You Say Po-tay-to

It's summer!  Time for eating outside 'cause it's too nice to be indoors!  We go to Grandpas for holidays in the summer; he grills up some corn on the cob and a good cut of meat, Sis brings some fruit, I bring the potato salad.

It took me a long time to figure out potato salad, mostly because I was trying to figure it out on my own.  My friend Bonnie put me on the right track:  you add the dressing when the potatoes are still hot.  The other thing she advised is never use Miracle Whip, even if you love it.  The first I really should have figured out, because when you put the dressing on cold potatoes you get, well, mayo covered potatoes.  And I don't like Miracle Whip, so no problem there.

I experimented a lot, with mixed results.  My ratios always seemed to be off, and one flavor or the other was overwhelming the salad.  One day in a burst of inspiration I looked up the Best Foods recipe (Hellman's mayonnaise on the other side of the Rockies).  Bam, almost perfect potato salad.  I've since tweaked it here and there:  the biggest change was reducing the salt drastically.  So, here's my potato salad recipe.

Basic Potato Salad

3 lbs. potatoes cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 & 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. stone ground mustard
3 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
3/4 cup chopped onion

I don't peel my potatoes, just scrub them good, but you can if you like.

Cover potatoes with water in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Drain and let cool slightly - not much more than 10 minutes (this is called steam-drying, and lets some moisture escape).

Combine mayo, vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and toss gently.  Serve chilled or room temperature.  I like to let it refrigerate over-night so the flavors mingle well.

You could add a couple chopped hard-cooked eggs, or crumbled bacon.  You could decrease the mayo and add a good measure of yellow mustard for yellow potato salad.  From this recipe you can probably figure out how Grandma did it.

Here's a picture of a batch I made in June 2011 with red potatoes.

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