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Potato Salad Using Baking Potatoes?

monavano Mar 14, 2011 10:49 AM

Hi All,
I would like to make potato salad to accompany bbq chicken and baked beans. I have 2 large baking potatoes here at home, and don't feel like going out to get red or other waxy potato.
Has anyone done potato salad with this less than desirable type of potato? What was your method of cooking the potato?

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  1. paulj RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 11:05 AM

    How about just taking extra care when mixing the salad? You could, for example, mix the dressing and other ingredients, and just pour it over the sliced potatoes without any further mixing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: paulj
      monavano RE: paulj Mar 14, 2011 01:41 PM

      Thank you--I was very careful when tossing. See below for report!

    2. eperdu RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 11:06 AM

      I didn't have potato salad with anything but the baking potatoes (Russet) until I was an adult. The "other" potatoes aren't the norm in most parts of the country, particularly the midwest. :)

      They do taste fine, the trick is not to drown them. You may consider steaming them to cook instead of boiling them.

      Otherwise, they are just fine!

      1. l
        lseavey RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 11:12 AM

        I boil them whole and the peel and cube, tastes great!

        1 Reply
        1. re: lseavey
          tastesgoodwhatisit RE: lseavey Mar 15, 2011 02:16 AM

          Yeah, I do this too, and am careful not to overcook. I can rarely get anything other than baking potatoes.

        2. monavano RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 11:20 AM

          Thanks for the reinforcement!
          I don't think Mom ever made it with anything other than russet, but I've been using red for so long, I just wasn't sure if I'd be OK using these.

          1. chefathome RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 11:30 AM

            Bake the potatoes on the grill and slightly undercook. The char gives a lovely flavour to potato salad (I usually dress the potato salad while potatoes are still warm to they absorb the other flavours better).

            1. monavano RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 01:35 PM

              OK, so I used 2 large russet taters. I peeled and sliced them into cubes and brought them to a boil until tender. Dressed with a mayo/yogurt/mustard concoction and mixed with celery and green onion.
              While the potatoes are on the soft side, it will certainly hold together. Big, huge improvement over grocery store salad.

              16 Replies
              1. re: monavano
                Will Owen RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 01:51 PM

                I'll give a belated vote in favor of russets. They were what we always considered normal for potato salads back in the Midwest, and for a long time it really puzzled me that so many recipes would call for the "wrong" kind.

                Most of your serious potato-salad mavens insist on boiling the potatoes whole and then peeling them. Unless I'm using the smaller russets, well under what we'd call baking size, I've had no luck doing that without a soft outer and rocky inner result, and I don't like to peel a cooked potato and find it's black inside! But I do get better results by cutting peeled ones into quarters and then dicing them when hot. This is why we have rubber gloves …

                1. re: Will Owen
                  monavano RE: Will Owen Mar 14, 2011 01:54 PM

                  I'm hesitant to boil potatoes in their jackets (Irish gasp!) for the reasons you mentioned. I peeled and cut them down to size out of pure laziness! I think they'd be a bit firmer if I'd quartered them, which I normally do when mashing.
                  Overall, it's a thumbs up and thanks to all for your advice and encouragement. My DH adores potato salad, so he's going to be especially happy tonight!

                  1. re: monavano
                    Will Owen RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 02:12 PM

                    Yeah, after many episodes of hearing "Nice mashed potato salad, Will!" I learned that you want them a little harder than you think you do - still firm enough to want a sharp knife to cut them up. They keep that potato flavor better, too - not as well as when boiled in their jackets, but it's a good compromise.

                    Golly, I hope we've lost some significant weight by the time serious potato salad weather gets here. I do love it so, and despise the low-cal versions …

                    1. re: Will Owen
                      monavano RE: Will Owen Mar 14, 2011 02:15 PM

                      Now wait!! I made mine low cal today!!
                      I used 1/2 C. low fat mayo, 1/2 C. 0% Fage, dijon, paprika, celery and hard boiled egg. It soooo creamy and guilt-free. Well, almost guilt free.
                      I sub in the fage all the time and the heft and taste just really makes it. Now, German potato salad--there will be no short cuts!

                      1. re: monavano
                        Will Owen RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 04:40 PM

                        I agree with everything but the low fat mayo. If you read the labels for both kinds, you'll see that instead of fat they've loaded it up with carbohydrates, and those are the simple kind that add a major glycemic load. The healthiest mayonnaise would be a homemade one with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, unless you're squeamish about raw egg, but a decent bottled one - especially at the small quantities you're using - is better for your bod than the low-fat.

                        Thanks for the Fage tip; my tendency is to go with sour cream, and I really need to stop doing that.

                        1. re: Will Owen
                          sunshine842 RE: Will Owen Mar 14, 2011 04:58 PM

                          complaining about the carbs in low-fat mayonnaise on potato salad seems to be a little pointless.

                          1. re: Will Owen
                            monavano RE: Will Owen Mar 15, 2011 05:18 AM

                            You know...I think I'll have to take a look at the label!

                        2. re: Will Owen
                          mamachef RE: Will Owen Mar 14, 2011 06:12 PM

                          I like full-fat Best Foods mayonnaise-dressed Russet potato salad absolutely better than any other kind: Potatoes, hard-boiled egg, diced celery, pickle relish, and a mayo dressing tarted up with just a touch of mustard, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Whenever there's any left over, it's almost a guarantee that you will find me on the couch at 1 a.m. watching cooking show reruns and loving the creamy, crunchy, tangy deliciousness of it.

                          1. re: mamachef
                            sunshine842 RE: mamachef Mar 14, 2011 11:35 PM

                            I was raised where it says Hellman's on the label, but I'm with you. Dill took the place of celery seed (just a little) but yum.

                            1. re: sunshine842
                              mamachef RE: sunshine842 Mar 15, 2011 03:18 AM

                              Honestly, sunshine842, my first mayo association is the Hellman's name too. I have to remind myself that we're WEST o' the Rockies now, not in the Heartland. : ) And I'm with you on the dill, especially if the relish is dill relish, not sweet.
                              An awesome salad (we call it bean and potato, to differentiate it from the classic) is to toss green beans and halved new potatoes in a tarragon/chive dressing, tossed with crumbled hardboiled egg. Definitely not classic picnic salad, not what I'd bring if I offered to "bring the potato salad" but worth remembering when you're trying to head uptown with the 'taters.

                              1. re: sunshine842
                                monavano RE: sunshine842 Mar 15, 2011 05:20 AM

                                I actually used a squeeze of dill (Gourmet Garden) in my salad yesterday. I'm really loving this substitute in lieu of the real thing, which can be scarce and $$ this time of year.

                                1. re: monavano
                                  alkapal RE: monavano Mar 15, 2011 05:58 AM

                                  monavano, those garden gourmets ARE handy, aren't they? they have a nice variety, and now do "blends" like "thai" and others.

                                  1. re: alkapal
                                    monavano RE: alkapal Mar 15, 2011 06:09 AM

                                    I make a delicious Asian-style soup with the Lemongrass tube. Who has lemongrass just laying around? Just sayin'!

                                    1. re: monavano
                                      alkapal RE: monavano Mar 15, 2011 06:53 AM

                                      ramona, i even use that lemongrass (and some fish sauce and green onion) to doctor el-cheapo ramen soups when it's 3 am and i don't want to miss the opening scenes of law & order. ;-).

                              2. re: mamachef
                                alkapal RE: mamachef Mar 15, 2011 05:57 AM

                                mamachef, your potato salad sounds perfecto.

                                git in ma belly, 'tater salad!

                                1. re: alkapal
                                  mamachef RE: alkapal Mar 15, 2011 06:01 AM

                                  LOL girl I LOVE that commercial!

                      2. greygarious RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 02:28 PM

                        Cook's Illustrated taught me that sprinkling the vinegar directly onto the hot potato slices makes a big difference, really melding the flavors of the potato and the dressing. Mix up the rest of your dressing ingredients and stir into the potatoes once they are cooler (if you want warm potato salad) or cold.

                        I never boil potatoes, for anything. Steaming them whole, unpeeled, maximizes the potato flavor. Stick a fork into the hot spud, and slide a sharp or serrated knife over the skin to peel it easily.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: greygarious
                          monavano RE: greygarious Mar 14, 2011 02:31 PM

                          I definitely think I'll steam in the jackets next time. Dressing with vinegar while warm is genius. Thanks!

                          1. re: greygarious
                            phofiend RE: greygarious Mar 15, 2011 07:59 AM

                            I also sprinkle the potatoes when they are warm, but I use pickle juice instead of vinegar.

                          2. puzzler RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 02:39 PM

                            I love Russets for potato salad. I've found the best way to get consistent results is to steam the potatoes AFTER they're cubed. I cube peeled raw potatoes to 1/2" and put into a steamer insert over boiling water in a saucepan. About 13 minutes they're right where I want them.

                            I also love baking them first -- when we have baked potatoes I bake extras to save in the refrigerator. Cube them skin and all for a great Baked Potato Salad.

                            Tip #2: Dump the hot potatoes from the steamer into a large mixing bowl and add 1/4 cup vinegar for 4-5 potatoes (I like rice wine vinegar, but cider or white works too). Mix gently every 10 or 15 minutes until cooled then add rest of the goodies. The vinegar gets absorbed into the hot potatoes much better than cold.

                            1. Uncle Bob RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 02:49 PM

                              I eat "baked" potato salad all the time. Russets slightly under baked, cooled, refrigerated, Peel, dice, and fold....


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Uncle Bob
                                monavano RE: Uncle Bob Mar 14, 2011 03:26 PM

                                Wow! I generally have russets on hand and now I'm confident that they are wonderful for a potato salad. Great tips!

                              2. eperdu RE: monavano Mar 14, 2011 03:30 PM

                                Another thing I like is "whipped potato" salad. Basically you whip up the potatoes leaving some small chunks for texture but it's otherwise smooth. Add in your other ingredients and incorporate. I have no idea why I like it this way but I think it's because every bite then has flavor, you don't get large bites of just potato.


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: eperdu
                                  sunshine842 RE: eperdu Mar 14, 2011 03:43 PM

                                  one of my grandmothers made this regularly with leftover mashed potatoes. It wasn't my favorite, but I never turned it down, either.

                                  The other grandmother made traditional potato salad with baking potatoes, and dressed it while the potatoes were still warm (she eventually quit peeling them before she boiled them, as peeling them after boiling was far less painful for her arthritic hands, and the warm, steamy potatoes actually helped with her dexterity).

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