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Potato Salad


Jaymes
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There must surely be as many methods of making potato salads as there are cooks.

I read somewhere that in order to make a "proper" potato salad, one must add the acid (lemon juice, vinegar, wine, cider, whatever) when the potatoes are hot, so they will absorb it.

Another source said instead that one should immediately toss the hot potato chunks with olive or other oil, to coat them, thereby sealing them, and reducing the possibility of the pieces crumbling and disintegrating into mush.

I'm sure every eGulleteer has plenty of recipes.  Please share with me your favorites.  I've got lots of houseguests coming this summer, and want to be prepared with fat bowls full of the delicious stuff.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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this is not something I make on a regular basis

that said, I look for two things in any potato salad -- acidity (to counter the richness of the mayonnaise), and onions (or pungent seasoning)

I think German potato salad is my favorite, although that hasn't always been the case.

Mmmm

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Jaymes, what a great topic you started.

I love potato salad.

I have a friend that makes the best.

Will call them and get you a recipe.

I know they add many herbs to it and also gerkins.

And yes t here has to be that perfect balance between acid and sweet.

How do you make your version?  What did you grow up eating?

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Aside from trying to find a great recipe, I have always tried to replicate the thin slices of potato one finds in German potato salad at delis.  Well recently, I don't remember where I saw this, but some chef was explaining that he puts his boiled potatoes through a hard-boiled egg slicer and voila, those little thin slices of potato come out perfectly formed.

And, just as an aside, IMHO sprinkling the vinegar, or whatever acid you use, on the still warm potatoes is the way to go.  Also, adequately salting the boiling water for the potatoes is important.

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stefanyb, I believe that might have been the Sainted Jacques Pepin. Or if not, I've seen him do it.

Yes, definitely acids first after the potatoes have blown off their steam.

There are about 30 or 40 versions of potato salad that I do ranging from grilled shrimp and roasted potatoes to boiled Yukon Golds with a creme fraiche and tarragon. I've also done ngoc mam and coriander.

You can go any way that you want with it.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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And a Tunisian version:

3 potatos, boiled peeled and sliced or cubed

1 tsp of small capers, rinsed from the salt or brine

1 thinly sliced onion (or half an onion if it's large)

1 Tbsp chopped black olives

1 Tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon

1 tsp paprika

1/4 cup olive oil

Mix everything but the oil, season with salt and pepper then add the oil.

M
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:wow:

My usual potato salad is far more ordinary.  I like to use red-skinned potatoes and leave the skin on. I agree completely about adding the vinegar (I usually use cider vinegar for this purpose) while the potatoes are hot.  I include a hard-boiled egg or two, very finely chopped red bell pepper, sacllions or red onion, and herbs, depending on mood and the rest of the menu.

It's best to make the potato salad a day ahead to let the flavors blend.

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How do you make your version?  What did you grow up eating?

My mother wasn't much of a cook.  My father was a wordly, excellent cook...raised in first the kitchens of the restaurants that his widowed mother owned and later as the stepson of a very wealthy man who traveled the world with his family in tow (and whom his mother had met in one of her restaurants when he walked in with a couple of dead 'coons he'd just shot and said, "Can anyone in here cook these things?" and she said, "I can cook any damn thing you can drag in.").    

But, Dad had to work, so the cooking was left to my mom who was studious in nature...always looking up some obscure subject in encyclopedia, and who hated being in the kitchen.  She did the quickest, fastest, easiest thing...  We got good food (and our love of cooking) from Dad, who spent the weekends in our kitchen, cooking, laughing, talking, teaching.  (That had a rather unhappy, and unforeseen effect on my later life.  I thought ALL husbands and fathers were great gourmet cooks who fixed marvelous meals on holidays and weekends, beginning with an elaborate Sunday brunch.  Boy was I surprised when, in later years, my husband wouldn't lift a finger in the kitchen and got all pissy about it when I suggested he might consider it, just on Sunday mornings, to give me a break.)

Also when I was a child, we, too, lived all over the world and somewhere where we lived (and I don't remember where) they made a potato salad with warm mashed potatoes.  So, although I hate to admit this, you asked, and the truth is that when my mom wanted to serve potato salad with something, first she made up a big batch of instant mashed potatoes... then to it added Mayo, chopped hardboiled eggs, onions, pickle relish, celery, dash of Durkee's (she was, after all, originally a southern gal, and southern gals don't do much without tossing in a dash of Durkee's).  So, I thought ALL potato salad was warm and mashed.  Who knew?

Of course, I think most food that you are consistantly fed as a child, as long as it is at least passably tasty, figures positively in your memory.  I loved that salad as a kid.  But, I sure don't make it that way any more  :biggrin:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Jaymes, what is Durkee's?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Jaymes, what is Durkee's?

Durkee's Special Sauce....kinda sweet, kinda hot, kinda mayonaisey, kinda mustardy, kinda horseradishy, kinda yellowy...  Comes in conical shaped jar...turquoise lid, turquoise and yellow label.  I'm telling y'all...no southern cook is EVER without it.

I don't know for sure, but strongly suspect it is where the Durkee's brand got its start...  long before the fried onions, etc.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Thanks. I've never heard nor seen of Durkee's.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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There is nothing like discussing potato salad at a "Dad's Day" brunch. In any case, my husband insists that the best potato salad is made with homemade mayonnaise because that is the way Cassell's (his favorite hamburger joint)makes it.

The recipe I use most often is Sorosky's.

1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2 " pieces

3 pounds new potatoes

3 tsp. salt

6 hard boiled eggs sliced

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup chopped dill pickles

1 1/2 tsp. celery seed

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 tsp garlic salt

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup hot water

3 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

In a medium skillet, cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove to paper towels; reserve

1/2 cup drippings and set aside.

Scrub potatoes and place in large saucepan.Cover with water, add 2 tsp. salt, and bring to boil. Lower heat and boil gently until pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Drain, peel, and cut into 1/2 " cubes. Place in a large bowl; add eggs, green onions, pickles, celery seed, 1 tsp. salt, pepper, garlic salt, bacon and mayonnaise.

In small saucepan, heat reserved 1/2 cup bacon drippings, vinegar, hot water, sugar and mustard. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil for 2 minutes. Pour over salad; toss gently. Serve warm or at room temp.

(Sorosky, pg. 176 Year-round Holiday cookbook)

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Well here is the German version, further down after the recipe, this can easely be turned into the American version.

Start with firm cooking Potatoes, such as Maine or Prince Edward Island ones. Definitely not any high starch Potato, such as Russets. Select same size ones, wash, poke with a three or four tined fork twice. Place in a wide shallow vs. narrow tall cooking vessel with a good hand-full Salt, after coming to a boil, let simmer until inserted fork has no resistance. About 25 min. Drain and cool, but not in cold water as they get water logged. Also, cool only so you can handle, that is, peeling them. After all are peeled, let sit just for a while. In this "while" boil for about 5 min. a couple cups strong Chicken Broth with Cider vinegar, at a ratio of 3 parts Stock to 2 parts Vinegar. This liquid should have at least one and a half medium Onion, finely diced, and some finely ground white Pepper added to it. I also recommend at least 2 tsp. of Sugar. Now, while this is boiling, "slice" the Potatoes, not cube, into even thickness slices. Pour the boiling liquid over the Potatoes, which have to be in a fairly large round bottom bowl. Toss, similar to gold panning, with a flipping effect this salad and let stand refrigerated for 20/30 min. The consistency shoul be sort of "saemig" (viscous). Toss again, by adding a good quantity of Virgin Olive Oil, adjust seasoning. Anything added at ones desire, is ones own taste. If this Potato Salad is eaten before cooling, luke-warm, they call it in America "German Potato Salad", now when you cool it and add Mayonnaise, it's typical "American Potato Salad".

This is my Grandmother's version, and also the way I learned it during apprenticeship in Germany.

lizziee: to quote....."my husband insists that the best potato salad is made with homemade mayonnaise because that is the way Cassell's (his favorite hamburger joint)makes it."

So will you get the "home-made" Mayonnaise from Cassell's, or will you homemake Mayo? Which will be different! Everyone has a different recipe! You most likely could not duplicate Cassell's.

Peter
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Thanks for these recipes.  I do like potato salad, especially as an accompaniment to interesting sausages, but I often end up making lazy versions with mayo out of the jar - sorry, plus onions and chopped capers or gherkins for the acidity.

A friend used to make an excellent potator salad, tossing the potatoes in good oil and adding cumin seeds.  I can't now remember whether he toasted the seeds - would that be likely?

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And a Tunisian version:

3 potatos, boiled peeled and sliced or cubed

1 tsp of small capers, rinsed from the salt or brine

1 thinly sliced onion (or half an onion if it's large)

1 Tbsp chopped black olives

1 Tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon

1 tsp paprika

1/4 cup olive oil

Mix everything but the oil, season with salt and pepper then add the oil.

Thanks for this unusual Tunisian recipe.  I wanted to tell you that I made it for Father's Day.  One of my guests is allergic to mayonnaise (or, more probably he just doesn't like it...I've never been able to drag the truth out of him), so I just came to my handy computer, dialed you up, and prepared yours.  

I really appreciate your input.  And, the salad was outstanding.  

Folks like you who are willing to contribute their time and talent in such a positive way are what make life on this sad old planet worth living.  

AND folks like you who are willing to post their recipes, tips, and "cooking secrets" here on this forum are what makes eGullet worth coming back to....time and time again.

Thanks.   :smile:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I have always enjoyed mayo-based potato salad with some sliced or chopped radishes added.

However, my favorite is German potato salad. Anything with bacon in it, floats my boat. For a quick prep, I use the recipe from the book that came with my pressure cooker, but I add a little chopped celery and leaves.

-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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Occasionally I flip through cookbooks to see what kind of interesting potato salad I can whip up (the book American as Apple Pie has many variations), but when all is said and done, I really prefer my potato salad simple. When I first read Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking I was delighted to find someone who likes it exactly the way I do: a little Hellman's mayo mixed with a touch of lemon juice, salt and pepper. When you mix it up, some of the potato chunks get all creamy and some stay in form. When I serve it this way I make lots of it because much of it does not even make it to the table  :wow:.

The current favorites of my kids is French style potato sald, where you just toss slices of steamed potatoes -- red bliss are especially nice -- with a mustardy vinaigrette, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh snipped chives.

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only one Ive ever made before lots of the ingredients became a nono was german..or as close as I could come to it....

dont remember maounts..it was one of those...lil more....naaaah...lil more...clooose...lil more... GOOD! kinda things.

What I do remember was little red spuds...I think I peeled them....rendered bacon and the fat, red onion seems to ring a bell, white vinegar, parsley, kosher salt, maybe a dash of pepper too.

sorry I cant be more specific guys, but thats how my first times tend to be.

I didnt kill anyone, not even a quick trip to the hospital...so I sorta assumed it was ok.

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On the other hand, I never met a potato salad I didn't like.

I have.  Potato salad, like coleslaw and macaroni salad, NEEDS acidity or something like that.

I can't begin to tell you the number of times I've had any of those three, and almost gagged from the lack of a sour note...

Soba

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I can't begin to tell you the number of times I've had any of those three, and almost gagged from the lack of a sour note...

ugh.   pasty gloppy sh*t.  so old school.  hell, just about *every*thing needs an acidic note.  i've never met an acidic note i didn't like, 'cept raw tomatoes.

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