Potato Salad is one of those down home dishes that your mom, your grandmother or your great grandmother probably made. It has been and still is a popular salad at barbecues and picnics in every corner of the continent. It goes with everything and travels well making it ideal for a summer Pot Luck.
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Traditional Potato Salad
Potato Salad is most often served cold and includes a mayonnaise or mayonnaise-like dressing. Depending where you grew up the mandatory ingredients in potato salad will vary. Some recipes include radishes, pickles, onion, celery or cucumber. The mayonnaise dressing might include vinegar or pickle juice, regular mustard or Dijon mustard, and possibly sour cream or yogurt. Seasoning can include fresh dill or paprika. The only constant ingredients are potatoes, salt and pepper. To my surprise some salads do not include hard-boiled eggs.
My Grandmother’s Potato Salad
I remember my grandmothers’ version. She served it at every summer picnic or church outing. She spread out her old-fashioned quilt with black and pink squares, each one tied with a short piece of pink wool. Her salad always came in a big, pink plastic container. Her salad included potatoes and hard-boiled eggs but what I remember most clearly is the sprinkling of paprika on top, “for colour” she would always say.
Store Bought vs Homemade Potato Salad
My mom also made potato salad but I don’t remember that as well. In my family store-bought potato salad was introduced to us by the fast food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken. It came along side a bucket of chicken with coleslaw and was an easy dinner for a big family. That was many, many years ago.
Fast forward and potato salad is still popular at barbecues and Pot Lucks, usually store bought. It is easy enough to make at home but it does take more than a few minutes. If you want to eat real food cooking is a way of life. Having a kitchen set up for cooking, with the right tools makes all the difference.
Get The Tools
From a small, infrequently used egg slicer to your favourite knife every kitchen needs tools. Some of them will last a lifetime. I took my first cooking class at a culinary school 35 years ago where I bought my first real knife, a Victorinox 10-inch Chef’s knife. At the time it seemed like a lot of money to pay for a knife. I am certainly no chef but I learned to cut with this knife and I still use it every day. A good quality knife is an excellent investment and will make your kitchen chopping easier and more enjoyable.
What I like about a Chef’s knife is the tapered blade edge and the handle that allows you to wrap your hand around it and still chop. I can easily move the knife blade up and down on a cutting board without my hand hitting the board. Chef’s knives are available in an 8-inch, 10-inch or 12-inch blade length and I recommend you go as big as you are comfortable with. You will quickly get used to the size so don’t be intimidated.
Now if you are making potato salad, get chopping! In the comments below let me know what you think should be in every potato salad or what kitchen knife you use most often.
More Summer Salad Recipes
|2-2½ lbs red potatoes|
|4-5 radishes, halved and sliced thin|
|2 stalks of celery, finely chopped|
|½ small onion, finely chopped (optional)|
|fresh chives or 3 green onions, green part only, finely chopped|
|1 cup Miracle Whip, mayonnaise or homemade mayonnaise|
|1 Tbsp Dijon mustard|
|1 tsp salt|
|½ tsp pepper|
|FINISHING/GARNISH - paprika, chive blossoms|
- EGGS – Put eggs in a pot with water to cover them. Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Simmer uncovered for 12 minutes. Drain and run cold water over eggs until cool enough to handle. Peel and cool. Cut using an egg slicer putting them through the slicer in two directions. Set aside.
- POTATOES – Scrub and remove blemishes. Cut potatoes into similar size pieces for even cooking. Place in large pot and fill with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until cooked but not too soft. Drain and set aside to cool.
- DRESSING – Combine mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Reserve some chopped chives for garnish.
- ASSEMBLY - In a large bowl combine potatoes, eggs, radishes, celery, onion and remaining chives.
- Pour dressing on top and gently fold in.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Chill for several hours to meld flavours.
- Serve in a glass bowl. Sprinkle with paprika and garnish with chopped chives and some blossoms if available.