Sometimes I think my whole life centers around food because I cook and talk about food so much. Its not really that way but I am a serious foodie. My husband, my children and I have definite preferences in food and have no shame when it comes to professing our favorites. One of those family favorites is potato salad. Not just any potato salad but for my family it is MY potato salad. More food snob than foodie. There is nothing magic about my recipe. It is a very easy recipe with a ratio of one medium red potato to one large egg per person for generous portions.
We have a cute story we like to share in our family regarding potato salad. My sons grew up to be outstanding cooks and even stronger food snobs wanting only “Mom’s” food. Their poor wives had a struggle at the beginning. My eldest son’s wife came to me early in their marriage begging me to teach her how to make potato salad.
Because the recipe is easy and she is a gifted cook, she learned quickly. The problem was that my son snubbed his nose at her potato salad saying it wasn’t like mine. After a few discouraging times we worked out a plan. The next time she made potato salad she told him I had dropped off a bowl of it for him and he gobbled it up saying how much he loved it. When he finished eating she told him it was in fact her potato salad. We got a big laugh out of the experience and you can bet she didn’t have any more complaints from him.
Different people have different tastes so I have offered two pictures of potato salad to show you how different they can be. The one picture is what I recognize as southern potato salad and the other is chunky potato salad with skins. Either is delicious so try one or both.
Makes 1½-2 quarts
- 4 unpeeled medium size red potatoes
- 4 large or 3 jumbo eggs in the shell
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup dill, or sweet, relish, optional
- ½ teaspoon prepared yellow mustard, optional
- ½ cup mayonnaise, Hellman’s preferred
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons finely minced celery or ¼ teaspoon dried celery seed, optional
Wash potatoes until clean. (I use red potatoes because they do not fall apart like white potatoes and do not become mashed potato salad like white potatoes tend to do). Put deep holes in potato. Place potatoes, eggs (gently), and salt in a large pot and cover with cool water. Bring water to boil. Immediately turn heat low enough to allow water to bubble gently and cover pot with a lid. Cook for 35-45 minutes. After 10 minutes remove eggs and cover with ice to stop cooking process. Allow to cool to room temperature. After potatoes have cooked a full 35 minutes, test a large potato with a fork to see if it is tender inside. As soon as potatoes are tender, drain water, cover with ice and cool to room temperature. You can peel hot potatoes under the faucet with cool water running, just strip skin off and return to water until cool.
While potatoes are cool, peel and dice eggs, and place in another bowl. Add relish, and mustard, if preferred. Add mayonnaise (not salad dressing), salt and pepper, and mix well. If you like celery in your potato salad you can add a little finely chopped celery or a small amount of celery seeds at this time. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning as needed.
When potatoes are sufficiently cooled, dice potatoes into a large bowl. Hint: Like potato skins? Leave skin on a couple of potatoes before dicing but too much skin will be overpowering. Add egg mixture to potatoes, mix well and taste again, adjusting seasonings as necessary. Personal taste dictates how much mayonnaise and/or seasonings you may want to use. Because you can’t judge in advance how dry a potato may be inside, be sure that you put sufficient mayonnaise in your salad to make it moist. Season to taste.
I like plain potato salad, so I do not generally get very creative. However, you may choose to substitute an equal amount of sour cream for a portion of the mayonnaise. Suggestion: Add a small amount of the other flavors into about a cup of the potato salad in a small bowl, mix and taste. If you do not like the new combination it has not ruined the whole batch. Potato salad is best chilled and is always better when it has had time for the flavors to blend, anywhere for a period of a couple hours to over night.
Recipe can be increased or decreased at a rate of one potato per one egg, then adjusting seasonings proportionally. This is not an exact science, so tasting and adjusting is an important part of preparation.
One of our more picky eater children visited last week and she devoured the potato salad. I knew I had done good. It is so simple that it’s a shame not to indulge yourself regularly.
Ya’ll have a down home delicious meal and no fighting over the potato salad please, there’s enough for everyone.