Mmmmmm! Potato Salad!

27 05 2008

One of my favorite dishes is Potato Salad. Not that bought stuff – far to vinegary – but good, homemade potato salad that has all the right stuff and right amounts.

So, what do we need?

The foundation of any potato salad is, um, potatoes. So, to build a great potato salad, we need to start with great potatoes. Yukon Gold (R) is a great, nutty, slightly sweet, potato. It also boils up nicely, holding together and maintaining nice texture. The sugar content can be increased by storing the potatoes in very cool temps, so pop them in the refrigerator for several days before you use them. It is worth it.

What kinds of things work well with potatoes? There are several good vegetables that like potatoes, and the top of the list is celery. It also adds a bit of different texture to the salad, with is also good.

Then there is my favorite addition to every recipe: onions. I chop them pretty find because some people don’t like biting into a nice crispy chunk of heat. The amount of onion is a personal preference, so feel free to deviate from the following recipe.

The next thing to keep in mind is that potatoes are the biggest black-hole for salt that I have ever seen. So potato salad takes in inordinate amount of salt, but it is also easy to overcompensate and over salt. So, do like they do in Chicago on voting day: salt early and salt often! But taste as you go to be sure that you stay within reasonable bounds

OK, so for the recipe:

Wondering’s Potato Salad

  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold (or other Gold variety) potatoes, boiled and cubed
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 4 Eggs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks Celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 Onion, finely diced
  • 2 Pickles, diced
  • Herbs as desired: Oregano, Fines herbs, Celery seed, Dill weed, Paprika
  • Black pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain thoroughly and peel. Set aside to cool somewhat and make sure they are thoroughly dry. (I hate watery potato salad!)

While the potatoes are boiling, prepare the remaining ingredients. Bring the eggs to a boil; turning off the heat and covering to allow them to finish cook. Note that older eggs will peel more easily than fresh ones. Chop the celery, onion and pickles to your preferred degree of fineness.

When the potatoes can be comfortably handled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Add several pinches of salt, then drizzle some olive oil over the potatoes. As the potatoes cool, they will absorb some salt and oil, lessening the amount of mayonnaise needed, plus picking up a bit of peppery flavor as a benefit.

Sprinkle half of the chopped ingredients and herbs over the potatoes. Fold the potatoes over, then sprinkle the remaining chopped ingredients, a good pinch of salt and a couple spoonfuls of mayonnaise. Fold the ingredients in and taste. Add pepper and salt as needed, then set aside.

Taste again in an hour, and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with a garnish of green pepper slices, egg slices, parsley, scallions, cherry tomatoes, or anything else that strikes your fancy.

But enjoy how good the potato salad is using those Yukon Gold potatoes.

Mmmmmmmm! Potato Salad!

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