ISO of the best potato salad
In all my years of cooking, I have never made a potato salad that I have been really satisfied with. So I am putting a call out to CHers to help me make the best potatos salad this summer. My criteria: creamy dressing, flavourful potatoes (I want to bit into the potato and taste the flavour versus having the flavour only on the side of the potato), down home ingredients. I love exotic, fancy ingredients but nothing too chi-chi... let's keep it simple - something that will be loved by adults and kids alike.
My mother's old-fashioned recipe:
- Peel and put potatoes (either wax or starch will do - results in a different texture and the starchy potato will absorb more dressing) into a pot of water and cook until barely done
- While the potatoes are cooking make hard boiled eggs
- Drain and then sprinkle the potatoes with tarragon vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) and when cool chop in large cubes
- Dice onions, celery, and dill pickles. Grate the hard boiled eggs.
- Dressing: 2C mayo, 1/3c yellow mustard, 1/2c sour cream, a little pickle juice, salt and pepper (guessing on the measurements)
- Gently combine (use more dressing than you think, the potatoes will absorb) and let set
My method is similar to alwayscooking's; I boil the potatoes whole til just barely done and then I peel them (I usually use red potatoes so I just peel off most of the skin with my asbestos fingers, not a peeler, but not all of the red skins, leaving a little color)...then I cut them up while still hot and then sprinkle the cut up chunks with a little cider vinegar..it's so important to sprinkle with vinegar while still warm...then I let them cool down to room temp and add my other ingredients and chill.
I was afraid someone would ask for more accurate measurements [bummer].
The dressing amounts are only an indication of proportions - it would probably cover a couple of russets. It's an eyeball thing, dress the salad as if ready for serving and then add a bunch more. It will look like it's too much but most will be absorbed.
When making the dressing, keep adjusting the various components taste and ask 'is this OK?' - that's the traditional approach to this salad.
i use half mayo / half whip (she'll never know) and I do it for the zip that the whip has which I don't normally love. (truth, i use a bit more of the mayo than the whip) i also use herbes provence mustard in mine. i salt the water i boil the potatoes in pretty well. i usually use small slices of celery (or hearts of palm - which i REALLY love in it) eggs, onions and a HUGE amount of fresh dill. i've never used the vinegar but SO am going to do that. funny thing is, i'm making potato salad today for a birthday celebration - so thanks to whomever pushed this to the top! :)
Potatoes, I use a little cider vinegar, onions, celery, pickles, hard boiled eggs absolutely. less mayo a little yellow mustard, no sour cream here. no pickle juice, s/p, fresh parsley. ditto on everything except pickle juice which I don't think would be bad just never tried it. But no sour cream for me.
chill and serve.
Measurements as someone asked. Wow, I have never measured because it is always different. Some day I guess I should set down and actually measure how much.
I have to revise. I do cook my potatoes in a fair amount of salted water. Important. I only use a teaspoon or less of vinegar, just enough to give it a brine taste, maybe the same as pickle juice. I have to have eggs in mine, but light on the mayo, celery a must and just a teaspoon or two of pickles. Just a flavor is all, onion yes. I also forgot to mention mustard which I always add, just a little for flavor. Yes, not dijon.
But I also love a dijon vinaigrette based dressing with just shallots potatoes, peas and dill. Completely different from the basic.
This is the basic recipe I was taught and start from. I use Vidalia, sweet onion. Use the pickle vinegar to season the potatoes. Capers or olives (and a good white wine vinegar), are a good addition or substitution for pickles. Be careful about salt since all these ingredients are salty. I don't like overdressed and overworked potato salad so I stir it minimally and use more mustard and less mayo than you. I chop the eggs into 1/4-3/8 inch sized pieces.
As you have said, when you get towards the end you have to taste and adjust it to your liking. Just don't turn it into mashed potatoes! Crispy bacon pieces are nice, too!
I never seasoned my potatoes when they first came out. Not sure why, but I did thx to the comments but I used a little capers is what I ended up with. I did a light no mayo vinaigrette, but I used white wine, some dill, a little mustard, dash of garlic, s/p and then added some fresh chopped FL sweet onion of course eggs. A little parsley and served. Very good. Loved the capers!
It's sort of a combo. I never liked warm and this is cold and love the capers. But yep, a mix of flavors, but it sure worked.
Capers! I love them. My mom before she passed recently, requested one of my dinners. Pan sauteed grouper with lemon, white wine and capers with fresh dill. But she always gave me a hard time because she said I put too many capers in, lol. I add them to everything too it seems.
I recently made one with russet potatoes, hardboiled eggs, mayo, celery and onion powder rather than grated onion or chopped onion. Most people raved about it and the most interesting common comment was "I really like not biting into raw onion". The onion powder tip was one that my godmother passed along years ago, but I didn't try it until recently.
Well, so many people make the mistake of neglecting to rinse onions that are to be served raw. Slice, rinse (or even better, steep for 5 minutes in wine vinegar, then rinse), then dice/chop. You can sometimes get away without rinsing genuinely sweet onions, but otherwise, if onions are to be served raw, they should be cut and rinsed.
Here's the recipe that everyone seems to love. I use red bliss potatoes and I leave the skin on. I use Harold McGee's method that ensures firm, not mushy potatoes. You need a thermometer in the water, and you heat the potatoes in the pot with water until they reach 170 degrees, and you keep them at that temperature for 20 minutes. This firms the cell walls. Then turn the temperature up and boil until done. I use a cake tester to pierce them because I find that this makes the potatoes less soggy than if you use a knife or fork. I leave the skins on and cut into cubes. Then I dress with olive oil and quite a bit of red wine vinegar. I add chopped celery and chopped green onion and just enough mayo to give the potatoes a fine mayo gloss. I then add kosher salt (since this is served cold, you need to add a little more salt than usual), toss, and then add chopped, hard boiled eggs. People eat it like it's going out of style.
You're going to get four thousand recipes for a nice creamy summer potato salad so rather than typing one out I just want to give a couple of tips.
Be sure you've got plenty of acid. I use red wine vinegar and lemon juice. You can use cider vinegar, champagne vinegar or even distilled white just use a lot.
You also need plenty of salt. People tend to underseason potato salad because they don't taste it at all or they taste it while it's warm/room temp. Once you've chilled it you'll need more salt.
In keeping with my vinegar/salt theme I like to add capers. They are really not very chi chi and in a potato salad people who think they don't like them won't even know that they're eating them!
Also fresh parsley, fresh chives and lemon zest - yum!
Last month when I began cooking from Virginia Willis's Bon Appetit Y'All cookbook I made the best potato salad I've ever made..... Following is my report with the paraphrased recipe from the BAY'A Thread:
Fingerling Potato Salad, Ch. 2: Salads and Slaws, Pg. 48
Although this recipe calls for fingerlings, the alternative is red bliss, which I used, sliced in half. The potatoes are cooked in a large pot of salted water till tender then drained well. While still warm they are placed on a baking sheet and drizzled with 1/2 cup white wine vinegar. Set aside to cool while the dressing is made.
Dijon, sour cream (I used low fat), and mayonnaise (I used Trader Joe's organic), are combined in a large bowl and seasoned with S & P. When the potatoes are cool add to the bowl of dressing along with a chopped sweet onion, finely chopped celery, and parsley.. Carefully mix the potatoes with the dressing taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
What a really nice potato salad this is! I'll be making this dressing again and again, especially with the fingerlings, which I love. . Although I have made mayonnaise many times in the past, I can no longer have raw eggs. I can just imagine what flavor freshly made mayo would bring to this dish.
Gio Apr 13, 2009 08:32AM
(1/2 way down the page)
Yes, Chris.... I think any smallish potato would be just fine in this recipe, also an onion which is not too terribly strong. Ms. Willis, herself, came into the thread and said it's the addition of the vinegar on the warm potatoes that brings out the flavor. A really nice potato salad, this.
It is really so simple to make a good one. Potatoes, Best Foods or Hellman's Mayo, chopped up eggs, some celery and some green onion and salt. Mix together, let it sit in the fridge a day or two, and serve. People will ask you for the recipe.
Everyone has a different idea of what makes for the "best" potato salad. I'll offer my recipe, which I got from my hungarian step-mother. It's extremely simple, but is simply the best.
Earlier in the day or the day before, chop a bunch of scallions and/or chives. Mix with a couple of cups of Hellmans/Best Foods mayo. Refrigerate.
Later in the day, boil peeled waxy potatoes -- red or white -- until tender (be careful not to overcook). Cool and cube potatoes. Mix generously with mayo/scallion/chive dressing. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
While this recipe sounds deceptively simple, the outcome is amazing. It's my favorite potato salad, and whenever I make it for parties, people rave about it.
I make this a few times during the summer and there is never any left over.
Cajun Potato Salad
2 tbls margarine
1 tbls mince garlic
1 bunch (5-6) stalks shallots, tops only
1 tbls liquid smoke
2 tbls Worcestershire
2 lbs bacon, fried and crumbled
5 lbs red potatoes boiled in crab boil, cut up
18 ounces mayo
12 eggs boiled, yolks separated, whites chopped
1 cup spicy Creole mustard
½ cup yellow mustard
2 tbls Tabasco
salt and pepper to taste
In med. Size skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots; cook until wilted. Add liguid smoke and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 15 minutes; cool. Add bacon and set aside.
Mix potatoes, mayo and egg whites in a three gallon bowl. In a separate bowl, mash egg yolks and mix with both mustards and Tabasco sauce. Combine mustard mixture and potatoes. Add bacon mixture then salt and pepper to taste.
We tried this one a couple of times last year, easy to make small quantities as well.
Grilled Red Potato Salad with Bacon-Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
4 lbs new potatoes, scrubbed, cooked until almost tender, drained, halved
¼ cup olive oil, plus ¼ cup
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ lb hickory smoked bacon
1 large red onion, finely sliced
¼ cup plus 2 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tblsp sugar
¼ cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup crumbled Maytag blue cheese
Preheat grill. Toss potatoes with ¼ cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill cut side down for 3 minutes. Turn over and continue to grill for 2-3 minutes. Place in a large bowl.
Place medium skillet on the side burner and heat until almost smoking. Add the bacon and cook until golden brown and crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Let cool and crumble.
Remove all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan. Add the onions and cook until soft, 5-6 minutes. Add ¼ olive oil, vinegar, and sugar and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the onion mixture over the potatoes, add the crumbled bacon and parsley and toss to combine, season with salt and lots of black pepper. Spoon the salad onto a large platter and sprinkle with the crumbled blue cheese.
The recipe I do is very similar to all the other recipes using mayo with a few exceptions. While red or other waxy potatoes are boiling, finely dice some sweet onion and place in a bowl. After potatoes are cooked, peeled and chopped, add to bowl with the onions. Add white wine, cider or rice wine vinegar. The heat from the potatoes and the vinegar will take all ot the bite out of the onions. After the mixture has cooled, add celery, celery salt, hard boiled eggs , scallions, chives and parsley if you feel like it. Mayo with a little sour cream, salt and pepper finishes it.
Wow - incredible amount of responses so quickly. Thanks CHers!
Sounds to me the basic themes are for a real flavourful potato - you need to add vinegar to the potatoes when they are warm - sherry, apple, champagne, even basic white
Mayo gets absorbed - add more as needed
Flavourful condiments - wow - liquid smoke, blue cheese, dill pickles, boiled eggs, capers, mustard, crab, celery, crab boil, etc....
You can be sure that I will be trying out these recipes - adding my own variations as I learn - I will report back and let you know how it all went!
Thanks for all the input...
I only have twofirm rules when making potato salad. 1) Use only homemade mayo. It does make a major difference for the little time and effort required.
2) Use freshly ground pepper.
This topic is very timely, as it is just getting warm enough and with Memorial Day next weekend, to start thinking about homemade potato salad (and cole slaw too).
3 lbs. red, Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, NOT PEELED
4 hard boiled eggs, diced
4 Batempte pickles, chopped
apple cider vinegar
2 cups homemade mayo (combo of olive oil/canola oil)
minced chives, fresh parsley or other herbs to taste
Very important to boil potatoes in jackets and then peel, it really makes a difference. Cube or slice them, douse in liberal amount of cider vinegar (1/4 to 1/2 cup), couple tablespoons of picke juice as well. Sprinkle with s&p. Let cool to room temp, add mayo, chopped eggs, herb of choice. Refrigerate. Just before serving, taste and adjust s&p.
Keys are boiling unpeeled potatoes and marinating in pickle juice/vinegar while still warm.
re: Diane in Bexley
No doubt that there are thousands of recipes. Living in NY the home of the Original German Deli's. I feel the original potato salad brought over from Europe is the best. Sadly almost all of them are gone. The potatoes are boiled, peeled, sliced/chunked and then put in brine overnight. The brine consists of water, vinegar [Heinz only], salt, white pepper and sugar. The next day excess brine is drained and Hellman's mayo is added and topped with grated onion. Salad is then put in fridge for another day for the flavors to meld. NO pickles, capers, olives, liquid smoke or other foreign ingredients. These ingredients are from a 100 year old recipe that came from Germany. No fancy vinegars, home made mayo or fancy potatoes.
A Good Recipe
I use red potatoes, but that is your choice. Cook with skins on and peel after.
I'm not giving amounts; it depends on how much salad you're making.
The key difference is a mustard vinagrette made - equal parts of white wine vinegar, canola oil, a good amount of Dijon mustard, shallots (1-2tbsp), chopped Italian parsley, salt and pepper.
Pour over chopped potatoes and allow to mellow.
Add chopped celery, diced hard cooked eggs, chopped green onions (white and green parts).
Mix equal parts of mayo and sour cream and add to salad.
Garnish with sliced cooked eggs, black olives, and parsley.
Have always gotten good reviews.
MMRuth suggested I post my mom's recipe. It's the only potato salad I really love. I thought that was just because it was what I grew up on, but my girlfriend is constantly after me to make it, so it may really be the best. This recipe is very loose.
Peel potatoes to roughly fill a large mixing bowl. I'm guessing 7-9 potatoes, depending on size. Boil until tender. Cut into 1/2 - 3/4 inch chunks.
Hard cook 3-4 eggs (place in water, turn heat on high. When water boils remove from heat and cover for 15 minutes or so). Peel and chop into medium size pieces.
Chop one large yellow onion into small pieces.
Chop a handful of Spanish (green) olives, more or less depending on taste. I use pimento stuffed salad olives.
Dump all previous ingredients into mixing bowl, then give several shakes of salt over the top.
For dressing combine one cup mayo, one Tbs. or so of yellow mustard, one Tbs. celery seed and a goodly dose of olive brine in a bowl and whisk together.
Dump dressing over potato etc. in bowl, then mix the whole thing together with clean hands.
Chill and serve.
Gadflier's Warm Mustard Vinegar Mayo Creamy Amazing Potato Salad:
1. Use a mix of starchy potatoes - the 3 colored (red,white,purple) net-bag at a famous local supermarket chain is a great choice.
2. Boil the potatoes unpeeled in salted water, and cook to soft, not to "just done.:
3. Pre-mix the wet ingredients in a glass bowl while the potatoes are boiling so they can meld their flavors:
3 parts mayo to one part sour cream
Equal amount of grain mustard (not dijon) as to sour cream
2 capfuls white balsamic vinegar - mandatory ingredient
2 scallions diced fine
1/2 red onion chopped
Dash of worchestire
Salt, pepper to taste; try white pepper
Heaping T of dry tarragon or better yet fresh tarragon, dill or cilantro, but just one of them
Optional to your taste, but absolutely not necessary for any of these:
One or two roughly chopped hard boiled eggs
One or two diced small sweet pickles
3 strips of crumbled strip bacon
Paprikia or chili powder, but not hot sauce
Add the potoates hot, you need not peel them, and either smash them in the bowl or be a real chef and peel them and chop them immediately; do not let the potatoes cool for this version.
Add a few T of the cooking water, mix thoroughly but gently, and serve immediately!
There's a solid place for olives, and pickles, and their juices, and for heat, but not in this one. Let the vinegar and mustard and the one green herb shine through instead.
The beauty of potato salad is that there are an infinite number of choices. Enjoy, and I look forward to trying some of the other ones here soon.
I made red white and blue potato salad for my fourth of July party last year. This sounds very good, but I would like cold vs warm for this. Some I like warm but with sour cream I would want cold and not sure about the sour cream. Sounds interesting however.
But the red white and blue is fun for the holidays.
First, use good potatoes (fresh from the farm "new potatoes" which are small and usually red and dug in the spring) will taste terrific. They aren't called new potatoes anymore. That's what my grandmother called them. Now I think they're just really small red potatoes. Cook them whole with peels on. (and yes, you MUST put the vinegar on whilst still warm.
Second. Use real mayo, either Helman's or homemade. Use enough. The alternative is a vinaigrette style, which is healthier but not "creamy"
Third. Put in some fresh herbs: Fresh ginger with fresh cilantro is amazing.
re: Beverly Mills
I have to have celery and egg in my creamy potato salad otherwise just not right for me.
Vinaigrette based I like more of a simpler based dish, but I still like scallions, or shallots or red onions.
Just potatoes to me sounds like mashed potatoes. But understand the loyality to certain recipies. I prefer a few more veggies in my potato SALAD.
But do like the ginger and cilantro which I have never done.
I like variety and use several different recipes but the one constant I always add is one can of choped water chesnuts, we love the crunch. It extends the recipe just a bit and without adding extra calories, just lots of delightful texture. EVERYone loves it.
My friend made the best potato salad ever and she taught me her way:
5 lbs potatoes
1 large jar good mayo (Dukes or Hellman's)
1 small jar of yellow mustard
about 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons celery seed (more to taste)
1 large yellow onion
1 bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Boil potatoes and eggs together -- leave skins on potatoes -- until potatoes are almost done. While potatoes and eggs are boiling, chop onion and green pepper in food processor until almost pureed. When potatoes and eggs are done, peel and put in a large mixing bowl. Add the vinegar, onion and green pepper, mayo, mustard, celery seed, salt and pepper. Put food service gloves on your hands and mix it all together -- smashing the potatoes and eggs as you mix. It will seem soupy, but the mixture will thicken as it mellows in the fridge. To fancy it up, you can decorate the top of the salad with slices of more boiled eggs, or make designs with dried parsley and paprika or both. This recipe is easily doubled to make potato salad for a big crowd.
Pure & Simple by Tami A. Benton has a potato salad recipe which calls for cashews as part of the dressing. My husband and I both really liked it.
I've always seasoned the potatoes with a little vinegar and chicken broth ( not sure where i got that), but i loved the pickle juice idea. The only pickle juice i had was from pickled jalapenos, and it was great! Also didn't have sour cream, but had mexican crema, so I used that with some mayo, the usual celery, onion, but also added the radishes menttione here, and it was a good thing! Never found a way to use the radishes from my CSA box before...Great thread!
Julia Childs has a recipe called "Rosie's Potato Salad," that also uses chicken broth. It is the recipe that I use, with some modification.
After the potatoes are boiled (in their jackets), peeled, and sliced, chicken broth is added. Then add chopped onions and celery, cider vinegar, mayonaisse, salt and pepper. I think that the effect of the chicken broth is that it reduces the amount of vinegar and oil that is absorbed by the potatoes. I garnish with halved hard-boiled eggs.
My favorite basic recipe is the one from the 1971 Redbook Cookbook which calls for marinating the potatoes in a basic French vinaigrette for 10-15 minutes. One ingredient that I like to add - along with celery and sweet onion or scallions or chives - is chopped cornichons. I've never liked sweet pickles, and dill or sour pickles don't seem to work for me in potato salad, but vinegary cornichons add a nice flavor bite and texture.
Everybody here seems to be suggesting the mayo-variety potato salad, but I prefer a vinaigrette-based one. This is very simple:
DILL POTATO SALAD
8 Yukon Gold potatoes, uniform in size
Approximately 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbs. Olive Oil (optional)
Fresh dill, chopped, to taste
Feta cheese crumbled (optional) to taste
Steam potatoes until tender, in vegetable/rice steamer (approximately 20 minutes). As soon as they are cool enough to handle, but still warm, peel and slice them about 1/4 thick, and place them in a glass dish (pyrex). Sprinkle them evenly with the vinegar, and toss gently. Cover the dish loosely, and let the potatoes marinate until completely cool. Then, toss them with olive oil, scallions and dill to taste. Add crumbled feta last, if using.
This is deliciously tangy, and a great accompaniment to almost anything! Serves about 4 to 6.
Hmm, my recipe is a little different. I make Baked Potato Salad, meaning it tastes like a baked potato. It is basically potatoes cooked, cut up and dressed just like a loaded baked potato. You can make your own recipe or read mine. http://www.examiner.com/x-9835-Dallas...
The texture is mostly chunky with some mashed bits. Almost everybody in my family likes it. And that's saying a lot b/c we have 2 different existing potato salad factions.
One of my all time favorites, since I was a child, is German Potato Salad. It is true comfort food to me. YUM!
-2.5 lbs thin skin potatoes
-1 T salad oil
-10 oz. or 2 knockwurst
-12 oz. bratwurst
(remove casings if tough and cut diagonally, 1/4 inch)
-4 t. flour
-4 t. sugar
-1 t. salt
-1 t. dry mustard
-1 t. celery seed
-2/3 c. chicken broth
-1/3 c. white wine vinegar
-1/4 cup parsley
-1 small red onion sliced into thin rings
-1/2 c. celery
-Boil potatoes in inch of water until just tender (30 minutes, and less for red potatoes) When cool enough to handle, peel and slice (unless using red, then leave peel on).
-In a big fry pan over med heat add oil and meats, stir until lightly browned, set aside.
-Add flour, sugar, salt, mustard, and celery seed. Cook, stirring until hot and bubbly. Then gradually stir in broth and vinegar. Stir until it boils and thickens. Then gently stir in potatoes, meats, parsley, onion and celery until combined.
This is SOOO good!!!! I'm sure you will love it. =)
Has anyone mentioned a sweet potato salad? If they have I'm sorry I missed it.
I used diced peeled sweet potatoes; Love some fresh roasted onions and red peppers all chopped. 1 spicy cubanella or your choice, also roasted; and then some chopped or diced bacon bits. They added a savory vinaigrette, fresh thyme, tarragon, balsamic and olive oil.
There are many good sweet potato salad recipes with a caribbean flare, cumin, ginger, allspice, cilantro but it is sweet to me and I prefer the one above. But have made both.
This is something I created last summer on a whim and got several requests for the recipe soon after. I add a diced onion to just-strained potatos and mash while hot. Then I cover them and let sit for a few minutes. This helps the onion to soften a little. Make the dressing by mixing mayo, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped fresh basil, dill, and parsley. A dash of honey really perks up the dressing but can be left out if you would like. Let this sit for a minute for the best flavor. Then add a chopped orange bell pepper, a lot of chopped bacon, a chopped boiled egg (if you want, sometimes I leave it out) and mix into the potato and onion mix along with the dressing. This salad is meant to be creamy and bright, so I always make sure to use alot of fresh herbs and mayonaise. Enjoy! :)
My best potato salad is so simple...small red potatoes cooked 12 min. then into ice water, abt. 3 T. chives from my garden, abt. 5 T. sweet white (candy) onion, and 1/2 Hellman's,Mayo and 1/2 Miracle Whip - enough to coat but not overwhelm..I only use real ingredients..no light or artificial sweetners. This is to me the best and I have made potato salads with eggs & pickle relish and a variety of other ingredients, but prefer the simple flavor. Try it..You'll like it!
Addition to Jebbie - With the small red potatoes, I do not peel them, just slice and chop. Onions I chop small. Chives - about 1/2 in.size.