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Jun 11, 2007 06:17 PM

New York area deli style potato salad

Help, please. In the '50's and 60's every NY area deli served a typical thin sliced potato salad.
I don't think it was made with mayonnaise. It was typically called "German", but had no bacon, and was cold. To me it was ambrosia!!! Recipes, please


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  1. Here's a link to a recipe called Long Island deli potato salad that I saw on another message board. I'm trying it next time I make potato salad. An ex-MIL (from NY) of a family member used to make a potato salad that I just loved, I'm hoping this is it.

    1. I found this recipe which I think is closer to the original request. No mayo in this one and reminds me of the kind my dad (who grew up in Long Island) used to make. This one has bacon but I think you can leave that and the egg out and get closer to what you're looking for.

      4 Replies
      1. re: JennS

        I looked at both recipes. Neither is what we would get at the local German or Italian delis. There was no onion dices or peppers. When I moved to Fla, there was no place to buy our salads. With mayo (Helmans, of course) it is just potato salad, without mayo and with bacon, it was called German potato salad. Follow the recipe for the first one, but instead of dicing onions, use onion powder. That is the closest we got to the NY style. The German style we used to get had no celery chunks or eggs. Try without them.

        1. re: Pat Mac

          I always had potato salad with onion, not onion powder. Both kinds. NYC and Whitestone.

          1. re: Pat Mac

            NO onion powder. It's GRATED onion. HELLMAN'S. the finerkitchens recipe is close but no door prize. Also pepper is WHITE pepper with Salt optional.

          2. re: JennS

            Sorry JennS, epicurious recipe is nowhere near the real deal.

          3. I have bought this German potato salad in Queens and Brooklyn and it has always tasted the same and delicious. You could buy it with or without mayonnaise. Not having any recipe I embarked on my own to find the perfect German potato salad. I guess you can use any kind of potatoes but I bought the red ones because they were small in size. I am no cook or chef but after much trial and error this is what I have come up with.

            3 lbs. red skinned potatoes
            1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise (Hellmann’s) what else?
            2 tbsp vinegar
            1 tsp salt
            1/2 tsp pepper
            4 tsp sugar
            1/2 cup of water
            1/2 chopped onion

            Cook potatoes for 30 minutes after they start to boil. Let cool, peel and slice in an egg slicer for uniformly thin slices. Add following ingredients into blender. Mayo, vinegar, pepper, sugar, salt, onion and water. Blend at high speed for 2 minutes. Pour this marinade into bowl and add potatoes. mix well and cover and chill. Marinate overnight. You can experiment with the amounts of vinegar, water and sugar especially if you use more or less potatoes. I hope you like this. Comments welcome. Enjoy.

            3 Replies
            1. re: metweezer

              Looks good, but I have to tell you - Dukes is the only real mayonnaise :)

              1. re: Lebek

                I respectfully disagree. For me it's only Cain's All Natural Mayo.

                1. re: al b. darned

                  We're talking New York here! Hellmanns is the only option on this turf. Dukes for down south, Cains for New England, different story.

            2. My mother used to make something she called German potato salad. It was thinly sliced potatoes dressed with olive oil. There was a good bit parsley, salt and pepper and I'm pretty sure that there was vinegar of some variety. Does this ring a bell?

              2 Replies
                1. re: roxlet

                  Same here. Mine adds minced onions to it as well.

                2. The epicurious recipe linked by Jenn S, minus the egg, pickle, and scallion, is what the LI delis of that era sold. I grew up on it. If it was a kosher deli, no bacon, of course.