Monday, July 4, 2016

4th of July Potato Salad

Spend some time on the internet reading up on potato salad, as I did on this 4th of July morning, and you will find that it is a topic of great passion and debate. You will find recipes that say not to use russet potatoes but the comments below will be full of people who swear by using russets. You will find great debates on whether the best potato salad should be creamy, mayo-based or should it be made with a vinaigrette. You will find that people can be almost religious about their mayonnaise (Hellman's, Miracle Whip, Best Foods). And everyone's mother, grandmother or Nana made "the best" potato salad.

Potato salad is simple and versatile but, in the end, we all want the potato salad that we all grew up with. So I went with a basic mayo-based potato salad. But in my research I did pick up a few tips/tricks:

When boiling the potatoes, start with cold water that is well salted. The potatoes will absorb some of the salt improving their flavor.

As potatoes are cooling, splash a little red wine vinegar over them. Again, they will absorb some of the flavor and it will add a nice contrast to the starchy potato flavor.

Because you will be working with mayonnaise, make sure the potatoes are not hot as you are mixing the ingredients.

Look, as I did, at a number of recipes and create your own with the ingredients that grab you.

4th of July Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. potatoes - I used two different types of fingerling potatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery stalks
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup of relish or chopped pickles - I diced up a half of a friend's spicy pickle
  • 2-3 coarsely chopped hard boiled eggs
  • 1 generous tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise or to desired creaminess
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1.5 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Paprika
Directions:
  • Start ahead of time by making the eggs. Cover them completely with cold water and then bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, turn off heat and let eggs sit in the hot water for 10-12 minutes. Remove and let cool. This can be done a few days ahead of time.
  • Scrub the potatoes clean. 
  • Cover them with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Let potatoes boil about 7-8 minutes for smaller potatoes and up to 12 for large russets. Test with a knife to reach the right consistency.
  • Drain potatoes into a colander and lightly drizzle the potatoes with a splash of red wine vinegar. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Chop potatoes into cubes. Peels on or off--that's your choice.
  • In a large bowl combine all ingredients adding mayonnaise last. Stir to mix well and add mayonnaise in batches and stir to mix. Continue to add and mix in mayo until you get to your desired consistency.
  • Spoon the potato salad into a serving bowl and garnish with a few pinches of paprika.

Happy Summer!