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Potato Salad


Jaymes
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Today is potato planting day

(if I can find the potatoes I want to plant!! )

it is also first potato salad of the season day and will mark the solstice in my house ..Spring has sprung!

This is my old man's favorite dish and since I like to see him smile I try to make it a real treat for him!

I think the thing I like most about potato salad is that it does evolve over the seasons...the first one I make is the end of winter and official start of spring using the older potatoes, strong winter onions and the fresh parsley/chives out of my garden..combines the old (out) and new (in) ...

as the spring and summer come the potato salad follows....each potato should have its own salad... new to the old! There are absolutely no hard and fast rules with this dish and I defy anyone who says there are! Come and have a bowl of mine :smile:

this is a process that I think are important with good potato salad because of the potatoes and how they absorb or don't absorb ..how much flavor they already do have or dont have .....but not a recipe ..a little bit of this a lotta bit of that and it all comes together...

Bye Bye Winter Welcome to Spring!

boil some older hopefully waxy, dense potatoes in their skins until just barely done ..drain the water completely cover the pot I even put a towel over the pot to keep the heat in..

prepare your sauce

whisk the following in order into each other in a big bowl bigger than you think you will need

cider vinegar ..(I use Braggs for the winter salad because it is strong! later I would use a much milder one)

winter onion diced small

diced celery

big bunch off fresh parsley minced up

yellow mustard of your choice

mayo (home made or your favorite brand)

whisk above well, taste and add a little sugar to even out the acid in your vinegar

as you peel and dice the potatoes..taste one piece and check the texture and flavor then just toss them as fast as you can peel into the sauce ..hopefully your potatoes are still pretty hot so don't burn yourself

toss it all together (I use my hands and go easy so I dont smash too many of the potatoes up..but some require smashing to blend it all together) taste again.. satisfied?

then the add ins

green olives

boiled eggs

coarse salt

fresh ground pepper

sweet peas (if you have them or even a good brand of frozen sweet peas)

green olives

cooked beets

today everything but the beets are going in ...

toss together gently

I have to make a hard boiled egg daisy with an olive in the middle and sprinkle the top with a good sweet paprika for traditions sake! Better if made in advance and chilled I think but warm off my fingers is good as well!

ETA to add Ta da with the tasting bowl of the freshly made almost warm salad for my old man ..he says it is perfect! :wub:

gallery_51681_4569_74696.jpg

tasting notes from me on this batch

needs a bit more salt ..no biggie better at the table anyway

the Braggs kicks the strong onions ass so soaking it before hand made the onions pop like they had been pickled ..awesome flavor ..

this is a freaking awesome batch of potato salad! ...everything seems to have met at the right moment... lots of sweet tart and creamy going on in there potatoes, and all the add ins combine and yet taste distinct ..nothing was lost ...and it will be better after the rough edges ..and there are just a few.. sit and meld in the fridge for a bit

next the new potatoes and really fresh peas...more herbs...lighter vinegar I can hardly wait!

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I will just never understand the Mayo part :smile:

the German Deli where nearly all the potato salad I ate for over 35 yrs came from has closed

I am devastated...I make crappy potato salad, even had their recipe at one time

Red Potatoes..cooked, peeled, sliced thin with the slit side of a box grater

Vin

Oil

salt

sugar

onion

dried parsley

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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  • 3 months later...

Oddly enough, I can make Chinese roast pork belly but I'm a bit unsure of how to make a proper potato salad. I've eaten some in my life but I've never made it.

Just wanted to get some hints on how to make a proper potato salad. For starters -

-What's the "right" way to make it?

-I'm using about 6 lbs of new potatoes, any hints on how to cook them properly without them getting mushy?

-I have Japanese mayo and Hellman's to use - would this be bad if I mixed them both?

-Are you supposed to put chopped celery in it? I was told that's necessary for crunch factor. True? False?

-Are you supposed to peel the potatoes?

Thanks for your help.

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Oddly enough, I can make Chinese roast pork belly but I'm a bit unsure of how to make a proper potato salad.  I've eaten some in my life but I've never made it. 

Just wanted to get some hints on how to make a proper potato salad.  For starters -

-What's the "right" way to make it?

-I'm using about 6 lbs of new potatoes, any hints on how to cook them properly without them getting mushy?

-I have Japanese mayo and Hellman's to use - would this be bad if I mixed them both?

-Are you supposed to put chopped celery in it?  I was told that's necessary for crunch factor.  True?  False? 

-Are you supposed to peel the potatoes?

Thanks for your help.

I'd say that there is no "right" way to make it. I'm not sure what kind of potato salad you're looking for but here are some things I like to do:

For the cooking: depending on size, you can cook them whole or cut them in to cubes. Cook them in salted water and check them often to make sure they don't overcook. Peeling or not is up to your preference.

I have no experience with Japanese mayo. My advice on the mayo is to use a light touch. I add mayo by the spoonful and mix as I go to make sure I have the right coating of mayo but not too much. I like a light coating of mayo to each potato, not a gloppy bit of mayo with a potato in it somewhere.

I like to put celery in, but if you don't like it, don't add it. I also like to add a bit (may a tablespoon or two) of grated onion--it shouldn't register as oniony, but will intensify the flavor of the salad. I also like coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley for color and flavor.

One tip I have is to add a bit of vinegar and your salt while the potatoes are still hot but after you've drained them thoroughly. Toss them in the vinegar, let them absorb it, then apply mayo.

That's how I make a simple potato salad using mayo, but there are likely as many methods as makers.

nunc est bibendum...

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I like a warm potato salad made with green beans, tomatoes, onion, feta cheese and balsamic vinegar. Kinda like the following, but obviously easy to vary. I'm not sure how I came up with it, but it's become a favourite.

Boil red or white potatoes (quartered or halved baby potatoes or fresh nugget potatoes are faves) until cooked-but-firm. In another pot, steam fresh green beans until cooked, but still crunchy.

Drain both, add green beans to potato pot and return to a low temp burner and quickly add some chopped red or white onion, halved cherry tomatoes or diced plum tomatoes. Pour a touch of olive oil and a small amount of good quality balsamic vinegar into pot and stir just to blend.

Arrange on plates/bowls and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and a bit of fresh-ground black pepper.

I like it chunky so I don't chop things too small.

Edited by FauxPas (log)
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gallery_51681_4569_74696.jpg

If I sat down at a table with this bowl, all I'd need is a spoon and I'd probably die of happiness.

My favourite potato salad is Double Mustard potato salad, from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything, but recently I've been making a lot of "Japanese" potato salad. I call it that only because it's the sort of potato salad that I see in supermarkets in Japan all the time. I take May Queen potatoes, boil them, and keep half of them cubed, and mash the other half. I add one carrot and cucumber that have been salted, lightly pressed, and then rinsed and drained, along with a half onion that's been soaked in cold water to take away the harshness. Then I add vast great squooges of QP mayonnaise, until the whole lots becomes velvety smooth.

gallery_41378_5233_295303.jpg

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I take May Queen potatoes, boil them, and keep half of them cubed, and mash the other half. I add one carrot and cucumber that have been salted, lightly pressed, and then rinsed and drained, along with a half onion that's been soaked in cold water to take away the harshness. Then I add vast great squooges of QP mayonnaise, until the whole lots becomes velvety smooth.

gallery_41378_5233_295303.jpg

I have come to enjoy the Japanese style potato salads. I remember the first encounter when the mom apologized and said their style was "different". I recall the partly mashed part and also the addition of ham cubes. It was quite addictive. The mom was from Yokohama and the dad was Japanese via Hawaii.

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Squooges is not a word and that's not potato salad!

Too much squooginess for me. ;-)

Heheh. The first time I tried it, I was hesitant as well, but I find I can get used to anything if I eat it enough... :biggrin: As for "squooge", the bottle/tube they put Kewpie mayonnaise into invites the invention of new words. "Squeeze" doesn't seem quite right, because of spluttering, sucking sound the mayo makes as it's released in large quantities. Hmmm, that sounds appetizing.

We should have a show of hands over who prefers semi-mashed potatoes to firm cubes in their salad.

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I always add a couple tablespoons of vinegar to the water before adding the potatoes which I cube in advance. The vinegar keeps them very clean and crisp looking, while cooking perfectly. -And, yes, I use a waxy potato like the red ones, and I peel them to avoid the dangerous and often bitter glycoalkaloids.

One variation I like is to take some:

peeled and diced potatoes as many as you want/need (waxy type, not flaky bakers)

regular sour cream (enough to cover your potatoes) (do NOT substitute lowfat sour cream!)

curry powder or wet curry spice mix like Patak's (amount varies by type and your taste)

sugar (a dash to a tablespoon to balance the curry powder)

sliced/julienne raw carrot

sliced/julienne raw celery

Mix the sour cream and curry powder and let is sit for a half hour -enough time to peel, dice, and cook the potatoes. Slice/julienne your carrot and celery. While the potatoes are sitting in a colander cooling, taste the sour cream and see if it has enough curry goodness for you. Add more curry powder if needed and add a little sugar to taste. When the potatoes are cool put potatoes, carrots and celery in a big bowl and fold together carefully.

Sorry that this isn't much of a recipe, but there are a lot of variables involved.

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this thread is giving me some ideas.

I'm also exploring making homemade mayo from scratch.

never made potato salad before (or mayo).  hmmm...

Homemade mayo definitely makes a difference.

It is one of those things where a minimal amount of time and effort pays

huge dividends.

As for non mayo potato salad-

Sliced waxy potatoes, thinly sliced (red) onions, a little paprika, S&P, wine vinagar and (Austrian) pumpkin seed oil has been a favorite of mine for a long time.

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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Mmm...potato salad. I like many different kinds, some with mayo, some with vinegar and olive oil. There are two essential ingredients for potato salad: good quality flavorful potatoes cooked al dente--and celery. Yes, I know there are people who won't eat celery. If you come to my party I will make you a special bowl of potato salad sans celery, but everybody else will get celery. I might add radish, red onion, eggs, jalapenos, pickles of various kinds, whatever is around or whatever appeals in the moment. Spanish smoked paprika dusted on at the end can do wonders for a potato salad. Home-made mayo? Yum. But the potato should always be the star, not the mayo.

Once in a great while I can be in such a good mood that I will eat without complaint the ice-cold stuff that's served alongside ribs in BBQ joints, but generally it's awful. I call the potato salad (and the slaw and noodle concoctions) in those places Mayonnaise Salad. Too much egg, overcooked cheap starchy potatoes, too much sugar, too much sweet pickle and far far too much mayo. I'm there for the pork; if I'm outside at a picnic table and the sun is shining I am pretty forgiving of those salads. But even when I enjoy them they are still awful--in that special way.

I prefer warm or recently made potato salad. The potatoes should be waxy or new potatoes--red or white. Yukon Golds are good. French fingerlings are fantastic. I agree with many posters above, that sprinkling on the vinegar and some salt when the potatoes are still very warm, then letting that sit for a bit, makes for a better bite.

Here's a simple potato salad that doesn't use mayo and subs lemon juice for most of the vinegar. It goes especially well with any southwestern menu. I've tweaked it in the last few years, but I think it might have originally been a Bon Appetit recipe.

Potato Salad with Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette: Toast a couple of tsps. cumin seeds in a heavy skillet over med heat til fragrant, about 30 seconds. Cool. Grind coarsely. Mix lemon juice and olive oil to taste for a dressing. Add the ground cumin and let sit. Cook potatoes. Cut while hot and sprinkle with a modest amount of plain or cider vinegar and some salt. When cooler, add minced celery and red onion, thinly sliced scallions, chopped hard-cooked eggs, minced pickled jalapenos to taste and a handful of chopped cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste. If you like, sprinkle on a little of the pickled jalapeno juice from the jar. The recipe says it can sit 2 hrs at room temp before serving. It's very good and a little different.

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I agree with the last post: new or waxy potatoes are best. I tend for red and keep the skins on. Boil whole then cut in quarters. Vinegar while still warm is a must -- I get mine in the form of pickle juice. (Dill pickles, not sweet pickles). Celery, red onion, pickles, parsley. I also avoid the over-mayo problem, so I only use a little at first. If I need more of something, I add Greek style yogurt.

RD

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It seems that I have somehow missed this topic. I love potato salad and the only one I ever met that was awful was one of cold potatoes mixed with mayo, a really weird "salad".

My mom was not much of a cook but she could make pretty good potato salad. She used boiled russets, chunky onion, dill pickles, sweet pickles, minced olives, pimiento, hard boiled egg, and lots of Best Foods Mayo.

I never did figure out why she bought expensive minced olives instead of whole olives and chop them.

I vary my potato salad so sometimes it's made with Russets and sometimes other types. I did try the Cook's illustrated French Potato Salad and found it very good, also like Julia Child's version of Salad Niçoise.

I once made the Salad Niçoise for two busses of tourists, about ninty people and it went over very well.

Edited by BarbaraY (log)
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I had to make 60 lbs of potato salad a few months ago, and not wanting to peel or boil 60 lbs. of potatoes, I decided to bake them. I found several recipes for "baked potato salad" (similar to this one). I combined ingredients from a few different recipes. (I omitted the cheese referenced in several of the recipes as another person was bringing macaroni and cheese).

I have to say, baking the potatoes definitely imparted a more intense, and distinct potato flavor than traditional boiling or steaming methods.

The recipe included bacon bits, sour cream, chives, mayo, fresh parsley and ranch dressing. All 60 lbs were gone in no time! :biggrin:

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  • 11 months later...

July 4th is just around the corner, so I'm bumping this to see if any of our newer members have some interesting additions to the thread.

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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Baby red potatoes

diced red onion

diced celery hearts

diced radishes

fresh dill

bit of dried dill for extra flavor

mayo

sour cream

salt

pepper

a little dill pickle juice for acidity

I've seen this particular salad done many different ways, but this is my favorite combination of goods. Another one substitutes raw red bell peppers for the celery and a Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet (or your favorite homemade "ranch" mix) for the dill.

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I'm trying to recreate my grandmother's potato salad. It's more along the lines of German-style. She boiled red potatoes and eggs and peeled them. I remember her cooking bacon, removing it from the pan and cooking chopped onions in some of the bacon grease. I remember that she made a mixture with vinegar and sugar (and I think water, I'm not sure) and added that to the onion/bacon grease. She would add a cornstarch/water slurry to thicken it. She'd add salt and pepper and then have my grandfather taste it. He'd say "more (whatever he thought it needed)" and she'd adjust it until he gave the thumbs-up. Then she'd pour it hot over the cut-up potatoes and eggs and toss it together. She'd always make it early and let it sit all day, she said that was important. Before serving she'd sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the top.

I don't know if I'm forgetting anything, seems like I might be, but I still haven't got it right and she doesn't really remember it all that well. She's mid 80's now and hasn't made it in years plus has had to deal with some health issues including a relatively mild stress-related stroke after my mom passed away. I'm beginning to think it would take the team of her cooking and him tasting to get it right but he's been gone for over 10 years now. It has a somewhat creamy mouthfeel from the cornstarch and bacon grease but isn't greasy feeling and has no mayo or any dairy in it. It's quite tart compared to most potato salads I've had but in a well balanced sweet-and-sour way. It's a bit frustrating that I haven't been able to get it right.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I'm trying to recreate my grandmother's potato salad. It's more along the lines of German-style. She boiled red potatoes and eggs and peeled them. I remember her cooking bacon, removing it from the pan and cooking chopped onions in some of the bacon grease. I remember that she made a mixture with vinegar and sugar (and I think water, I'm not sure) and added that to the onion/bacon grease. She would add a cornstarch/water slurry to thicken it. She'd add salt and pepper and then have my grandfather taste it. He'd say "more (whatever he thought it needed)" and she'd adjust it until he gave the thumbs-up. Then she'd pour it hot over the cut-up potatoes and eggs and toss it together. She'd always make it early and let it sit all day, she said that was important. Before serving she'd sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the top.

I don't know if I'm forgetting anything, seems like I might be, but I still haven't got it right and she doesn't really remember it all that well. She's mid 80's now and hasn't made it in years plus has had to deal with some health issues including a relatively mild stress-related stroke after my mom passed away. I'm beginning to think it would take the team of her cooking and him tasting to get it right but he's been gone for over 10 years now. It has a somewhat creamy mouthfeel from the cornstarch and bacon grease but isn't greasy feeling and has no mayo or any dairy in it. It's quite tart compared to most potato salads I've had but in a well balanced sweet-and-sour way. It's a bit frustrating that I haven't been able to get it right.

Do you recall any green flecks that might have been parsley or oregano or caraway seed or other herb? Maybe some other seasonings like celery salt or paprika?

I guess you've already gone through her recipes and tried to think of someone else you could ask, like an aunt or uncle or dear friend or cousin...

I'd also suggest that you sit her down in the kitchen and chat with her while you make it. Some little glint of memory might come through. That's how it often was with my mother when we were dealing with Alzheimer's and a stroke or two.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

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 a copy of the 1953 Joy of Cooking which has a similar recipe for hot potato salad, which may help you. It doesn't have cornstarch, but it does have other ingredients that maybe you are missing.

6 medium potatoes, in their jackets

cook then peel & slice while hot

heat in a skillet:

4 strips bacon, minced

or

2 tablespoons bacon drippings

add:

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

1 chopped dill pickle

in a separate pan, heat together:

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Pour heated liquid into skillet, combine at once with potatoes and serve with chopped parsley or chives.

Hope this helps!

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I have a copy of the 1953 Joy of Cooking...

That's an excellent idea. God knows we all had a copy.

And the dry mustard might be just the thing.

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 use red potatoes and lots of the following: blue or gorgonzola cheese, bacon, LOTS of fresh dill, and some chopped red onion. I put in just a bit of sour cream. I don't like it super-goopy, but just a touch of sour cream to make things cohesive, if you will. It is really delicious.

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I have a copy of the 1953 Joy of Cooking...

That's an excellent idea. God knows we all had a copy.

And the dry mustard might be just the thing.

I was thinking that a lot of German potato salad recipes I have seen contain celery seed, and the fresh celery is something not mentioned in the original query. The pickle is also an option, I suspect that adding a pickle will brighten things up considerably.

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Thanks for the ideas folks. I'll play around with them. I know it definitely didn't have celery but that doesn't mean this isn't where the recipe started. If there was anything in it my grandfather didn't like, she would have changed it. She definitely used the cornstarch. I remember that because it seemed to emulsify everything so that there was no noticeable congealed grease even after a night in the fridge. The mention of pickles seems to be ringing a bell somewhere in the dark recesses of my memory but, for some reason, sweet pickles are shouting louder than sour. I'm not sure though, I could be thinking of something else she made. Unfortunately, sitting in the kitchen with gram isn't an option right now. I'm working in Canada and she's in Ohio. That will have to wait until I can make my next visit.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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