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Want rec. for cajun potato salad

danhole May 18, 2007 12:39 PM

In 1970 when we moved to Houston, Tx., we had some neighbors who were cajun. She made this potato salad, and would bring me a bowl of it whenever she made it. It was always still warm, and had the look of mashed potatoes, but very yellow, yet no mustard taste, and lots of ground black pepper. There were no chunks of onions, or anything else. It wasn't as smooth as you would make your mashed potatoes, but not really chunky. I have tried to duplicate this and have failed. Does anyone have a clue as to what this dish was? Maybe the yellow was from eggs, but there were no pieces of egg whites that you could see.

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  1. perk RE: danhole May 18, 2007 05:24 PM

    You've probably already done this--but how about trying Epicurious to see if they have anything. If not, try to e-mail Emeril. There must be a way to reach him through the Food Network website. Or try to contact Paul Prudhomme through his website.

    1. m
      MakingSense RE: danhole May 18, 2007 09:25 PM

      I checked some of my old Louisiana cookbooks and the one thing that some of the potato salad recipes had was a surprising amount of yellow mustard. Many were standard recipes with nothing else that could have accounted for a yellow color.
      The ones that had mustard were from the old cooks like Austin Leslie of Chez Helene and Charles Kirkland of Broussard's, part of an elite group of black chefs who made New Orleans' Creole cuisine famous long before Prudhomme was out of short pants and Emeril had found his way South from Massachusetts. Prudhomme does use a small amount of mustard in his potato salad recipe as does Alex Patout.
      Leslie and Kirkland used Idaho potatoes which they boiled for at least 1/2 hour or until the skins broke which would account for your neighbor's almost mashed potato texture. Leslie's recipe used 1/2 cup of mayo to 2 T mustard (plus 1/4 cup oil) while Kirkland's calls for 1 cup mayo and 1/4 cup yellow mustard. Neither uses additional vinegar so that may account for not really tasting the mustard. Both chefs use hard-boiled eggs but your neighbor may have eliminated those.
      Many of the famous black chefs of New Orleans were from the country so it's likely that their recipes would be close to the Cajun recipe that your neighbor used. My father was Cajun and all of my relatives make potato salad that is noticeably yellow unlike my mother's was, but I never would have never described them as "very yellow." Mama was from New Orleans and never used mustard in hers.
      Only a guess but the best one I can come up with.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MakingSense
        r
        robertacc RE: MakingSense Jun 16, 2013 09:05 AM

        Well, I think that I have your answer. I had a good friend who would make what you are describing. The secret is that all of the Ingredients were cut micro small.... Which includes, eggs, celery, green onions , mustard, sweet relish and miracle whip mayonnaise and the potatoes are cooked to almost the point of mashed potatoes and yes, it was the best potatoes salad ever!!! Hope this helps. YES, YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT THAT MUSTARD. I was fortunate to see Frances make it a few times so that its burned to memory. Oh yeah, the potatoes are Idaho and also micro cut (some will look mashed but some will have that micro small box cut to them)

      2. lollya RE: danhole May 19, 2007 08:33 AM

        i'm going to guess (keep in mind I am truly guessing) that she used cumin or saffron, which have great abilities to make things yellow.

        1. danhole RE: danhole May 19, 2007 02:52 PM

          I have searched every site I can and found nothing that comes close. But, now that I really think back, they weren't really that yellow, just a bit yellow. But spicy, becasue of the black pepper. No cumin taste for sure.

          So Making Sense - what was your mama's recipe?

          6 Replies
          1. re: danhole
            b
            bigjimbray RE: danhole May 19, 2007 03:16 PM

            what about paprika. I know its a dark red color, but if its stirred up in the potatoes it
            might give off a color.

            1. re: danhole
              m
              MakingSense RE: danhole May 19, 2007 07:58 PM

              Mama was from New Orleans. Her French family was from Marseille, not Cajun. Daddy was Cajun, from one of the River Parishes, and all my Cajun relatives make the yellowish, soft potato salad like your neighbor's. They use simple spices and you weren't likely to find cumin in their pantries, especially back in the 60s. They use yellow mustard.

              Because you gave the date as 1970, I looked at old cookbooks and I think the recipe you might want to use is that of Austin Leslie, chef at Chez Helene in New Orleans, who was famous for his potato salad.
              He boiled 1 pound of peeled, diced Idaho potatoes for 1/2 hour or until tender (sounds like a long time) and then cooled them for about an hour. Add 3 chopped hard boiled eggs, 1 chopped rib celery, 4 sprigs chopped parsley. Mix together 1/2 cup mayo, 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, 1 diced onion, 1/4 cup cooking oil salt and pepper to taste and add to potato mixture. Mix until well blended.
              Sounds pretty simple. Your neighbor probably added or subtracted things her family did and didn't like. Potato salad seems to be like that. Simplest recipe in the world that either works or it doesn't.

              The Austin Leslie recipe is from Creole Feast: 15 Master Chefs of New Orleans Reveal Their Secrets, published in 1978, a cookbook of recipes of the great black Creole chefs of New Orleans fine restaurants. Leslie was one of the best. He survived Katrina only to die shortly after in Atlanta. You may remember a TV comedy show in the 80s based on his restaurant - "Frank's Place."
              http://www.nola.com/weblogs/print.ssf...

              1. re: MakingSense
                danhole RE: MakingSense May 21, 2007 11:42 AM

                Thanks a lot. I'm sure there was no celery or parsley, but the rest may work. I am thinking that the eggs might have been grated. I thought they were mashed potatoes, but she called it potato salad. She had a very thick cajun accent, but I know that was what it was.

                I remember "Frank's Place". That's sad that he survived Katrina and then died.

                1. re: danhole
                  hannaone RE: danhole May 21, 2007 11:48 AM

                  Enough mashed egg yolks would definitely give a yellowish coloring to the potato salad.

                  1. re: danhole
                    m
                    MakingSense RE: danhole May 21, 2007 12:23 PM

                    So leave out the celery and parsley. I don't use eggs in my potato salad but Mama did. Potato salad is one of those personal, ad hoc dishes. You'll have to play with the recipe until you find your own personal fave. Probably be better than your Cajun neighbor's when you hit it, too, and everybody will ask for your secret.
                    I think the yellow mustard probably was the golden ingredient. Most Cajun food is made from pretty simple ingredients.

                  2. re: MakingSense
                    m
                    mhiggins RE: MakingSense Oct 19, 2007 07:36 AM

                    Speaking of Austin Leslie, I highly recommend his cookbook "Creole Soul" - pretty simple recipes, all of which are tasty and comforting. Granted, everything has a healthy amount of pork in it (esp. bacon fat), so its not really an every-day book.

                    For some reason, Amazon doesn't have it, but I know that a number of shops here in New Orleans always have it in stock.

                2. malenky RE: danhole May 21, 2007 01:08 PM

                  I am from Crowley, LA (a very cajun town). The way we make potato salad is to boil your potatoes (peeled) along with a few eggs. Drain the potatoes, put in a bowl add a good amount of mayo, yellow mustard, chopped green olives with pimentos, chopped pickles, salt and pepper, chop up the hard boiled eggs and you mix it all together. I usually mix after each ingredient is added and I think that contributes to the almost mashed appearence. And you just serve it warm. The yellow does come from the yellow mustard and the eggs...it just adds a subtle note to the salad. This is the way we have been doing it for generations. Hope it helps.

                  1. danhole RE: danhole May 23, 2007 08:21 AM

                    Thanks everyone! One more question - do you think it matters if I use russet potatoes versus some other kind?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: danhole
                      m
                      MakingSense RE: danhole May 23, 2007 09:13 AM

                      All the Cajun recipes I found said "Idaho potatoes" and I think that might have been largely russets.
                      The russets are probably the ones that fell apart giving your neighbor's potato salad that "mashed" potato effect. But since you're going to create your own version of this, does it matter? Nope. Try it however you like. Cajuns always improvise.

                    2. hitachino RE: danhole Jun 21, 2007 11:13 AM

                      after reading thru this thread, i had a craving for potato salad. i'm not a big fan of mustard, but i love southern style potato salad and decided to try the smashed thing. i didn't measure anything. mine is chunky from the eggs and veggies, but the potatoes are pretty mashed.

                      i boiled some peeled russets and 4 eggs.

                      i chopped a few ribs of celery, leafy celery tops, two seeded datil peppers, a dill pickle and a small onion.

                      i mixed together about a cup of mayo and a couple of squirts of yellow mustard along with a couple of shakes of a mustard based hot sauce and some garlic powder.

                      i drained the potatoes and dumped them back into the rinsed and dried pot and ran a knife thru them willy nilly. dumped in the chopped boiled eggs and stirred in some pickle juice. added about a tablespoon of smoked paprika, sea salt and some black pepper -- stirred again. (by now it's looking like chunky mashed potatoes with a reddish tinge from the paprika.) then i dumped in the dressing and the veggies and stirred well.

                      OMG, this is the best potato salad i've ever had.

                      1. l
                        LC2179 RE: danhole Oct 18, 2007 01:37 PM

                        you might want to try creole potato salad

                        3 lbs red potatoes, cubed
                        1/2 cup mayo
                        1/2 cup creole mustard
                        1 tbsp red wine vinegar
                        1 tsp prepared horseradish
                        1/2 tsp dried thyme
                        1/4 tsp garlic powder
                        1/4 tsp ground red pepper
                        6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
                        1 medium-size sweet onion, diced

                        cook potato in boiling salted water cover 12 minutes or until tender; drain and cool slightly.

                        stir together mayo, creole mustard, and other ingredients in large bowl; add potato, egg, and onion, toss gently. serve at room temp

                        1. d
                          dee7694 RE: danhole Oct 29, 2007 09:54 AM

                          I met a girl from Louisiana and her husband was a very good cajun cook. although he never gave me the recipe I took a few pointers from him and added my own twist and came up with this for cajun potato salad.
                          Idaho potatoes About 6 to 7 (depending on how many you are feeding)
                          Leave the skin on at least half of them.
                          Tony's cajun seasoning is the main ingredient you will need.(just season to taste, I use about 3 to 4 tbsp)
                          1 pickle (diced)
                          1 tsp hot sauce(optional)
                          1 white onion(chopped fine)
                          1 small can of black olives(chopped)
                          4 boiled eggs(one for garnish)
                          2 to 3 tbsp of mustard.
                          About a 1/2 to 3/4 cup or so of mayonnaise.(not miracle whip it tends to be to sweet)
                          paprika, black pepper, and red pepper about a tsp of each.

                          Dice and boil potato's
                          add mayo and mustard and 3 eggs
                          stir in onions and olives
                          add dry ingredients.
                          I slice the last egg in thin slices lay on top and sprinkle with paprika.
                          (serve warm)
                          (the reason for yellow is the mustard, but the other ingredients hide the taste of mustard)

                          1. p
                            professormochi RE: danhole Nov 4, 2011 07:18 PM

                            Found this on cooks.com. I imagine if you grated the onion and chopped the dill pickles really tiny, it would have a smoother consistency and taste delicious.
                            POTATO SALAD (SOUTHERN)
                            4-6 med. potatoes
                            1 med. onion
                            2 dill pickles, med.
                            1 tbsp. mustard

                            Peel and boil potatoes until cooked, mash with a bit of milk (as for regular mashed potatoes). Chop onion into very small pieces, chop dill pickles into very small pieces. Mix into mashed potatoes, mix in 1 tablespoon mustard. Serve while warm. (Can be reheated.) Serves about 4.

                            1. eclecticsynergy RE: danhole Jul 2, 2012 08:40 PM

                              roro1831 posted this cajun potato salad recipe to another thread:

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6191...

                              1. r
                                robertacc RE: danhole Jun 16, 2013 10:01 AM

                                http://www.ehow.com/video_5774300_whi...

                                done like frances, except he uses sandwich spred (which has relish in it and Frances/RIP used Miracle Whip and relish but this demonstrate just how small the cuts need to be and was the reason that you couldn't see anything)

                                1. LaLa RE: danhole Jun 18, 2013 08:53 AM

                                  We use dry mustard in ours as well

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