Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

eG Cook-Off #87: Potato Salad


David Ross
 Share

Recommended Posts

Real Potato Salad.jpg

 

When I think of Potato Salad, I think of my mother and paternal grandmother.  Summer picnics and backyard parties are the first memories that come to mind.  But I came to realize that not all potato salads are the same.  My grandmother kept her recipe basically the same.  Usually russet potatoes off the ranch and farm she and my grandfather owned in Central Oregon.  She would add mayonnaise, out West "Best Foods" was her mayonnaise of choice if she didn't make it from scratch.  She would add a bit of yellow mustard, some vinegar and chopped canned pimentos. (Today we'd do something she would have called "fancy" and add fire-roasted red peppers).  Sometimes Grandma would add chopped, hard-boiled eggs to her potato salad. 

 

My mother was more adventuresome with her potato salads.  She usually used Russets since she grew up in Idaho potato country and my grandfather had a small business that sold burlap sacks to potato farmers.  On occasion she would use "new potatoes," either red or white.  We didn't have potatoes called "baby" or "fingerlings" back then.  Sometimes she added chopped dill pickle, hard-boiled eggs or diced celery.  If my father had his way, she would make his potato salad with Miracle Whip.  I wouldn't touch the Miracle Whip potato salad. 

 

One thing my mother and grandmother always agreed upon was the potato salad had to be on ice in the metal ice chest so the mayonnaise wouldn't spoil and make us all sick at the picnic.  

 

Mother didn't limit her potato salad cookery to the summer months. In Fall and Winter she made a hot German potato salad and served it with sauerkraut and German sausage we bought from a German butcher in a small farming town. 

 

She boiled russet potatoes and cut them into thick slices.  The dressing was made by frying bacon, then draining the bacon and crumbling it into bits.  Into the skillet with hot bacon grease she added onions and apple cider vinegar and tossed the potatoes with the hot dressing. Instead of diced celery she seasoned the salad with celery seeds and lots of cracked black pepper. 

 

It seems as though potato salads are uniquely tied to family, yet cross borders in terms of variations and ingredients.  Let's join together and share our family memories, present old favorites and create some new variations of potato salad.

 

See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/

 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The type of potato salad I crave was unique to New York City and its suburbs. There was a German Deli on Larkfield Road in East Northport NY that made several kinds of potato salad. Our favorite was very white in color, with the potatoes thinly sliced as if on an egg slicer. It had very little visible ingredients mixed into it, though "strips" of shredded carrots and chopped parsley were laid across the top of it (and mixed in with it when it was scooped out of the deli tray). It had a clean, slightly spicy, slightly sweet flavor that I now know was from a vinegar and sugar cure put on the potatoes after they were boiled. 

 

I don't know anyplace selling this type of potato salad anymore (though I'm a long way from Long Island these days). I keep trying to perfect the recipe, because It's my favorite potato salad! Here's a photo of what it looked like when I made it. Any comments to improve the recipe would be appreciated! 

Potato Salad.jpg

  • Like 8

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our potato salad could be more boring (to others) although I don't know how.  We like it this way and that's all that matters.

 

Red potatoes, red onions, parsley, salt and pepper and mayonnaise.  That's it.  (I loathe hard boiled eggs so never ever add them.  Ed would no doubt like them.) 

 

End of story.

  • Like 3
  • Haha 2

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, NancyH said:

The type of potato salad I crave was unique to New York City and its suburbs. There was a German Deli on Larkfield Road in East Northport NY that made several kinds of potato salad. Our favorite was very white in color, with the potatoes thinly sliced as if on an egg slicer. It had very little visible ingredients mixed into it, though "strips" of shredded carrots and chopped parsley were laid across the top of it (and mixed in with it when it was scooped out of the deli tray). It had a clean, slightly spicy, slightly sweet flavor that I now know was from a vinegar and sugar cure put on the potatoes after they were boiled. 

 

I don't know anyplace selling this type of potato salad anymore (though I'm a long way from Long Island these days). I keep trying to perfect the recipe, because It's my favorite potato salad! Here's a photo of what it looked like when I made it. Any comments to improve the recipe would be appreciated! 

Potato Salad.jpg

Sounds delicious and I'll have to experiement myself with the vinegar and sugar mixture.  I've seen some recipes where you toss the potatoes in vinegar and sugar while they are still hot after boiling.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like all different kinds of potato salad, and they DO fall into distinctly different camps. All, in my house have in common that they do NOT HAVE:

1. celery

2. green peppers

3. raw onion

 

Most anything else is fair game.

 

Basic potato salad that I grew up eating and continue to make probably 80 percent of the time is either red or gold potatoes, peeled, diced and boiled, with a dressing of mayo (Hellman's, please), mustard, sweet pickle relish, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt and lots of paprika. I've been known to add a dollop of ketchup to this; it's pinkish anyway from the paprika and the seasoned salt. Sometimes I'll add boiled eggs; generally not.

 

Then there's new potato salad -- tiny new potatoes, halved, boiled, sprinkled down pretty thoroughly with white wine vinegar immediately after they're drained. Dressing is, preferably, a light garlic aioli. Additions include diced cornichons, chopped boiled eggs, parsley, marjoram, chives, whatever other fresh herbs you feel like adding.

 

I make my own take on German potato salad when I cook German: red potatoes are sliced, not peeled, and boiled to just done. Chop up and saute some bacon til almost crisp, add onions. Remove from heat and stir in caraway seeds and a good portion of coarse mustard. Pour over hot potatoes and toss gently; serve warm or at room temp.

 

Every once in a while I sail off into the unknown. I did a salad once with fingerling potatoes cut into chunks and boiled, then doused with rice vinegar and light soy sauce. Dressing was mayo, ginger, more mirin, and a little sesame oil. Additions were shelled edamame, cocktail shrimp and julienned carrots. Sprinkled the bowl with toasted sesame seeds. 

 

I always cook potatoes for potato salad cut into bite-sized pieces, whether peeled or not, and cook in salted water.

 

Edited by kayb
to add last step. (log)
  • Like 6

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@NancyH I've done the simmer in vinegared water and like that flavor penetration.

 

I do not remember potato salad growing up. I may have had the hot one with the vinegar and bacon but it obviously left no lasting impression. Why I chose to have the grannies helping cook my wedding meal do a huge vat of potato salad "American style" i have no idea other than it could be pre-made and complimented the various beasts the roving Croatian spit masters were roasting for me. I shut them down on the mayo fear with "I have a degree in biology - don't sweat the small stuff".  It was pretty much what @David Ross described above with the mayo though it may have been Miracle Whip (I typed Cool Whip the first time) I prefer it room temp as I find the flavors stand out better and cold potatoes don't thrill me.  A Japanese friend from Yokohama had her potato more mashed and included ham. Not sure if mayo was Kewpie or just regular. She served it at all their gatherings and felt compelled to almost apologetically explain that it was different than American style.

ETA: Russet potatoes only

Edited by heidih (log)
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I finally learned the key to potato salad: tossing the still warm potatoes with a spoon or so of white vinegar before adding the mayo.   Our style includes chopped dill pickles, sweet onion, fresh (or dried) dill weed, chopped hard boiled eggs.    

 

 

  • Like 5

eGullet member #80.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree on the no celery, GBP or raw onions rule.

 

I like a waxy potato, either yukon gold or red potatoes for salad. The golds get peeled and the red keep their skin. 

 

I like a 1/2 inch or so dice.

 

After boiling they get a good splash of jalapeno vinegar.

 

Dressed with mayonnaise, salt and pepper is fine, But mixed with blackened onions is very nice esp if you let it sit for an hour or two.  If it sits overnight the whole thing is brown, but tastes fine.

 

1034231619_040(3).thumb.jpg.42c57775ff591071c4ecfc481150a9b2.jpg

Edited by gfweb (log)
  • Like 7
  • Delicious 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I first came up with this potato salad about 20 years ago.  I was bringing a dish to a company summer party and wanted something different to put on the table next to all the tubs of supermarket potato salad.  But I knew it might not be much of a favorite, or even have any takers since the group tended to not have adventuresome tastes.  It was a hit and I make it every year.  When I first made it I had never really looked into making mayonnaise from scratch.  Once I learned how to make it quickly with a blender I've been making my homemade mayonnaise ever since.  Adds more flavor and creaminess to potato salad over Best Foods, but I do still keep a jar in the fridge.  I used baby red potatoes, add whatever herb I have on the patio, this time marjoram, French green beans, Kalamata olives and capers.  

New Potato Salad.JPG

 

  • Like 5
  • Delicious 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love P.S.

 

with the advent of the iPot , the potatoes

 

now days get pressure-steamed.

 

w the skin on .  in a basket above the water.

 

they are cooled and refrigerated.

 

the larger chunks are cut into ' table sized ' pieces 

 

for each batch.

 

one interesting method is :  Penzey's Chicago Streak

 

sprinkled over the trimmed pieces , not too much

 

and a little vinegar   

 

that's the minimum.   green onions ( tops and bottoms ) are nice

 

HB eggs are a possibility 

 

mayo of course.

 

sometime I flavor the mayo first.

 

curry powder is very nice , ( penzey's has several version )

 

capers ( chopped , soaked in cold water , drained ( salt removal ))

 

are nice.  1/2 sour pickles finely minced  etc.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@rotuts Thanks for the caper reminder. When I have my pickled nasturtium pods (poor man's capers) on hand I use them. In hot weather it is nice to have a bowl of PS on hand for snacky meals. I do add boiled eggs, and often protein it up with a can of tuna. Hits the spot.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, David Ross said:

I think my Mother sometimes put dill relish in her potato salad, but maybe my Grandmother used sweet relish.  

Husband likes sweet pickle included but it isn't classic.

  • Like 1

eGullet member #80.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, NancyH said:

The type of potato salad I crave was unique to New York City and its suburbs. There was a German Deli on Larkfield Road in East Northport NY that made several kinds of potato salad. Our favorite was very white in color, with the potatoes thinly sliced as if on an egg slicer. It had very little visible ingredients mixed into it, though "strips" of shredded carrots and chopped parsley were laid across the top of it (and mixed in with it when it was scooped out of the deli tray). It had a clean, slightly spicy, slightly sweet flavor that I now know was from a vinegar and sugar cure put on the potatoes after they were boiled. 

 

I don't know anyplace selling this type of potato salad anymore (though I'm a long way from Long Island these days). I keep trying to perfect the recipe, because It's my favorite potato salad! Here's a photo of what it looked like when I made it. Any comments to improve the recipe would be appreciated! 

Potato Salad.jpg

 

I was a deli guy in high school, on Long Island (though Nassau, and south shore).  Guess who the person was who got to shred the carrots and chop the parsley?

That shit stuff (the potato salad) came in 5 pound tubs - and yes, it was very good (albeit less liquid-y than the one shown above).

You know what else? The carrots and parsley also went on top of the cole slaw. Which also came in 5 pound tubs. And was very good!  If I could remember the name of the company which produced them, I'd tell you - but that ain't happening.  Depending on which deli I was in at the time, we might've also had chopped herring salad, "health" salad, and various other options. I kept a nice case, even back then!!

 

Now, depending on mood and also on what type of potatoes on hand, I'll make a "French" version of potato salad (Julia liked to use a little chicken stock, tossing the potatoes with it after they were cooked), or an Italian sans mayo (both can certainly have capers), with just good olive oil and vinegar. The tip about dressing with vinegar while the potatoes are still warm is key.

 

If making an "American" version of potato salad, I see no wrong in nicely diced celery and sweet onion (if you can't stand the thought of raw celery and onion, just sauté them in a little olive oil; what I do for mac salad), a fair amount of herbs, good mayo (Duke's for me).


Sweet pickle stuff or relish is, as some of my peeps might say, a little goyish.

 

And nothing wrong with Ensaladilla Rusa, when the fancy strikes...

 

579037828_EnsaladillaRusa06-27IMG_4430.thumb.jpeg.e374577f34b67e55004b565f678c74e3.jpeg

 

My mother's potato salad (which wasn't bad iirc) always had hard-boiled eggs in it, and probably a lot of mayo.

Edited by weinoo (log)
  • Like 8

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've made a mixed potato /sweet potato salad where the potatoes were boiled and the sweet pots were sauteed and caramelized.  May need to reprise this soon.

  • Like 3
  • Delicious 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, gfweb said:

I've made a mixed potato /sweet potato salad where the potatoes were boiled and the sweet pots were sauteed and caramelized.  May need to reprise this soon.

 

Hmmm.

 

In my less than humble opinion, sweet potatoes ARE NOT FOR POTATO SALAD.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, weinoo said:

 

Hmmm.

 

In my less than humble opinion, sweet potatoes ARE NOT FOR POTATO SALAD.

 

I put thyme in it too. How's that sit with you?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

I put thyme in it too. How's that sit with you? 

That herb works for me with the sweet potato. How firm do you leave them? 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, heidih said:

That herb works for me with the sweet potato. How firm do you leave them? 

They soften when caramelized. But the potatoes stay firm

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, weinoo said:

 

Hmmm.

 

In my less than humble opinion, sweet potatoes ARE NOT FOR POTATO SALAD.

When my m-i-l first served it to me, I thought so too.    But, open a new window and consider it a totally different dish. 

  • Like 2

eGullet member #80.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this can be classified as a salad, albeit a cooked one. It is served cold as a side dish.

To quote myself from this topic

 

Quote

One favourite here among the rice eaters is 土豆丝 (tǔ dòu sī ) or slivered potatoes with vinegar.

Several of the recipes on Google include bell peppers. Never! It is matchstick slivers of potato with chilli, Sichuan peppercorns, garlic and vinegar. Often slivered carrot is mixed with the potato, but in lesser quantities. 1 part carrot to three parts potato.

 

1 large potato

dried chili peppers (to taste) If you can get them, dried "facing heaven chillies" are best

1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns

1/2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp vinegar (most recipes recommend Zhenjiang (Chinkiang) vinegar, but I usually use white rice vinegar, instead)

1 tbsp vegetable cooking oil

spring onion / scallion

cilantro / coriander

salt and white pepper

 

Peel and clean potatoes (and carrots if using) and cut into matchstick sized slivers. Try to keep them all as near as possible to the same size. I suggest using a cleaver or sharp cook's knife. Food processors or other methods never work for me.

Soak the potato (and carrot) in ice cold water for around ten minutes. Drain and dry with a towel.

 

Heat your wok or skillet, add oil then the chillies and peppercorns. As soon as you detect their fragrance, add the potato slivers and stir fry until they soften.

 

Add soy sauce. Season with salt and ground white pepper. Add the vinegar, stir and serve garnished with the cilantro / coriander.

 

 

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, weinoo said:

 

And nothing wrong with Ensaladilla Rusa, when the fancy strikes...

 

 

Ensaladilla Rusa is fine, but the king of potato salads is Salad "Olivier" - the proper Russian salad served at New Year. I think it's the malossol pickles and sausage that really makes it.

 

Great with champagne, and great for breakfast the next day. 

 

I should add that I've never made it - I do most of the cooking, but this is very much my partner's dish and I'm not allowed anywhere near the kitchen when it's being made.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, liuzhou said:

I think this can be classified as a salad, albeit a cooked one.


I think it fits very well in here, given that all potato salad contain at least the cooked potatoes, if not additional cooked onions, carrots, peas, bacon …

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...