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Oct 26, 2001 04:18 PM

potato salad recipe [moved from Kosher]

  • m

What's the secret to the deli potato salad? You know the kind at Katz's- plain white- no eggs or veggies other than shredded carrot on top. The deli's won't give it up but there's a certain something that I just cannot duplicate at home. I don't live in the NYC area anymore but crave this stuff.

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  1. I've never had the potato salad at katz's,(but ahh, those kasha knishes...) but I do remember that when I was trying to replicate my Granma's potato salad,( Jewish-Polish,made with miracle whip or mayo..) I couldn't figure out why it wasn't QUITE right, and my mother said the secret ingredient was a little plain ole white vinegar. BINGO!!!

    13 Replies
    1. re: galleygirl
      Michele Lowenthal

      i wish that it was the vinegar. I've tried all combinations of vinegar, mayo, mustard, no mustard, oil, no oil, sugar, no sugar. There is something else and the deli's will not divulge the secret. I've always heard that it is Hellmann's mayo and Heinz white vinegar but there is something else.
      Thanks for your reply, though.

      1. re: Michele Lowenthal

        One thing Cook's magazine discovered when perfecting their potato salad recipe is that the potatoes should be tossed with salt and vinegar/lemon juice while still hot, to season them. Otherwise they are irretrievably bland, regardless of what kind of dressing you use.

        1. re: Michele Lowenthal
          Jill Rovitzky Black

          I remember reading an article years ago about someone trying vainly to replicate New York deli/coffee shop potato salad, until he finally realized that the secret was not to use Hellmann's but to go with the cheapest store brand or generic he could find. That plus a little white vinegar might do it.

          1. re: Jill Rovitzky Black
            MIchele Lowenthal

            Interesting- don't use Hellmann's. That could be why in the years of trying and using Hellmann's only ,I never came close to the true flavor of deli potato salad. I had always heard that Hellmann's was the only mayo to use. Now the question is what other mayo to use. That should keep me busy.
            Thanks everyone.

            1. re: MIchele Lowenthal

              They are probably using food service mayo, which you can find in huge jars at places like BJ's or Costco and is labeled "Extra Heavy." It's got a somewhat different texture than mayo you'd buy at the supermarket, and it coats food in a more... insistent way. You can get Hellman's brand food service mayo.

              1. re: MU
                Suzanne Fass

                I wonder if the *whiteness* indicates that the dressing is NOT mayo-based at all. That is, nothing with egg yolks. And, of course, no dairy products. Maybe some sort of boiled dressing (usually disgusting, I know, but...) with flour, white vinegar, salt, and sugar? Hmmmmmmmmmmm...

                1. re: Suzanne Fass

                  Mayo is pretty white. I would guess that whiteness just indicates the lack of mustard, a pretty common potato salad ingredient, in the mix. But probably including that vinegar, sugar, and salt that you mention.

              2. re: MIchele Lowenthal

                Yes, Hellman's for commercial Deli Potato Salad.
                In the late 1970s I worked for a kosher caterer and also in a Kosher deli. They bought all their salads from Sally Sherman (as did almost every kosher deli and caterer who did not make their own)
                On the label of every tub-the Hellman's Mayo logo.

                It's more about the processing of the potatos than just the mayo.

                Sliced, not chunked or mashed. Really steamed, not boiled and definitely vinegar to keep them white.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  Katz's deli serves Sally Sherman potato salad and coleslaw. Available in many supermarkets.

                  1. re: phantomdoc

                    Eek! Either Sally Sherman's salads have gotten *much* better or Katz's *ain't* using Sally Sherman. I was under the impression Katz's made their own (coleslaw, at least).

                    Sally Sherman's a work-horse brand that depends a lot on sugar for its appeal to customers. It may be clean, 'cause it's Kosher, but still it's not very tasty.

                    They can bottle very good half-sour and sour pickles (Ba-Tampte) why can't someone make good coleslaw and potato salad for purchase in volume (or at the deli)?

                    1. re: shaogo

                      so far the best coleslaw that we find surprisingly is the Col. Sanders, tasty, crisp, and available.

                2. re: MIchele Lowenthal

                  I can't give an answer specifically to the Katz salad, but one secret I ran across was to mash a small portion of the potato with milk or cream and your dressing of choice (Mayo, mustard, or MW) to create the actual salad dressing.

              3. re: Michele Lowenthal

                I remember a Jewish Deli I went to in Mountain View ,CA. 30 years ago.They had the best Macaroni salad. I tried for years to duplicate it. I used Rice Wine Vineger and Roasted garlic with Best Foods Mayo ,no eggs . They also added cold slices of Chedder. I creamed a fresh onion in the food processor to add. I also added a small amount of fresh cream. The Rice vineger has the perfect amount of sweetness.

            2. Here's a good recipe:

              NYC Deli Style Potato Salad

              5 pounds boiled potatoes (new potatoes are best), chilled, then peeled and sliced 3/16" thick (not diced). Do not use baking potatoes. Do not overcook.
              1/2 cup grated carrot (optional)
              1/4 cup minced curly parsley (optional)
              1 1/2 cups Hellman's or Best Foods Mayo
              1/4 cup white vinegar
              1 Tbl kosher salt
              1/2 Tbl ground black pepper

              Mix potatoes with dressing (mix with hands).

              Not all potatoes are created equal, so.... Thin dressing with milk (buttermilk is best) if necessary. Adjust vinegar, salt, pepper to taste.

              Refrigerate 24 hours before serving.

              Dust finished salad with paprika.

              NYC deli-style potato salad contains no onion, no sugar.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Nancy Berry
                Michele Lowenthal

                Thanks Nancy, but I tried this recipe and it didn't taste like what I remember. I'm starting to believe that it isn't Hellmanns mayo after all since there are so few ingredients and the mayo is the one thing I have not experimented with.

                1. re: Nancy Berry

                  I just tried this recipe and tasted it while the potatoes were still warm. I took someone else's advice and subbed pickle juice for the vinegar. The only adjustment I will make next time is to decrease the salt accordingly. Otherwise, it is very tasty, and pretty close to what I would expect at a NY kosher deli.

                2. Another old-time deli custom is to use pickle juice instead of (or partly instead of) vinegar. It's a frugal way to make use of leftover pickle juice that cannot be reused to make more pickles. Pickle juice is a more complex flavoring, obviously, than vinegar (but, depending on its brininess, you need to be a bit more cautious about adding salt). Our neighborhood delis (at least the German, Jewish and Polish delis; not the Italian delis) used it for cole slaw, potato salad and macaroni salad.

                  1. l
                    lucy richards

                    I like potato salad

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: lucy richards
                      Marion Brown

                      The best potato salad in the whole world (and I've been all over), was from a little deli on 231st.street in the Bronx. Now this goes back quite a few years - I moved from there over 35 years ago - but if anyone out there remembers, let's hear it now! I think it did have a touch of sugar, though.

                      1. re: Marion Brown

                        OMG...I used to shop at that deli! The son was a snot! This was about 45 yrs ago! The bakery across the street had good bread too.
                        I think the guy who posted setting aside some of the potatoes and mashing them and mixing them with the mayo was spot on.
                        I live where there is no deli and I sure do miss it!

                        1. re: fractalcat

                          I lived up the street on 10th and wouldget a pint before going home. There was this coffee shop on the other side that roasted its beans and that was great too.
                          Just got to find out more about that pot. salad

                          1. re: fractalcat

                            Yes Delis are a almost a thing of the past now that we have bitg grocers and all comes from manufactures of bland cheap stuff.

                      2. Hello everyone, I was just wondering if Michelle ever found the perfect potato salad recipe?

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: nanleemorales

                          I make mine as my mom does and its so good. Just Boil Potatoes in quarters, drain and allow them to cool, then add Hellman s Mayo, Heinz Sweet Relish, One chopped hard boiled egg, and top with chopped scallions. Everyone likes it!

                          1. re: nanleemorales

                            No, never did find the perfect potato salad recipe. I haven't even tried in a long while.
                            Interesting to read that Sally Sherman's is served at Katz's. I may try the steaming method today though.

                            1. re: molomaf

                              Well, I have to tell you, my roommate and I decided to try to make it ourselves, and we taste-tested it continuosly until we found it to our liking, but then the weirdest thing happened, both the potato salad and the coleslaw lost their flavor by the next day, and no matter what we did, either by addiing vinegar or mayo, we couldn't get the flavor back. Can you tell me how to get the flavor to stay?

                              1. re: nanleemorales

                                I think the *key* to great potato salad is to add some vinegar while the potatoes are still hot or warm...they will absorb the vinegar and the flavor will remain. that is all.

                                1. re: Val

                                  Okay, we will give it a try next Superbowl Sunday, Than you.

                                2. re: nanleemorales

                                  Your guess is good as mine on preserving the taste. Eat it before the 24 hours are up LOL. Sounds like Cinderella salad.