kid-friendly · Recipes

Classic Potato Salad

What else says summer like potato salad? My mom makes the hands-down yummiest, but if you can’t have hers, this is the next best thing.

I think potatoes get a bad rap: branded as a pound-packer since the low-carb craze of the early 2000s, potatoes are in fact quite nutrient dense, especially if you keep the skin on as I do in this recipe. Full of fiber and potassium, potatoes can absolutely be part of a healthy diet — especially for vegetarians — if you keep portion sizes in check and watch the fattening add-ons like sour cream, bacon, cheese, and Miracle Whip (back away from the fake spreads!) This recipe derives flavor from lots of ingredients, from green onions to pickles and celery, and cuts the mayo dressing with bright Dijon mustard. You won’t miss one ounce of creamy texture, but you will get just enough zip to perk up the whole dish without tipping over into spicy territory. Serve cold or at room temperature ~ enjoy!

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Classic Potato Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds red potatoes, skin on, cut into quarters
  • 3-4 eggs, hard boiled
  • 1 small onion (red or yellow), diced; or use a bunch of scallions/green onions
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 8 small sweet pickles, chopped
  • 2/3 Cup mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP Dijon (OR 1 TBSP each Dijon and Yellow, to reduce spice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: fresh or dried dill for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Set the eggs on to boil if you haven’t any on hand, and then place a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Meanwhile, prep your other ingredients.

Quarters the potatoes. Small dice the onions and set aside in a small bowl of water to take the bite out of them. Chop the celery and the pickles and set aside.

Cook the potatoes in the boiling water for about 10 minutes or until fork tender. (Note: if you prefer to cook whole potatoes and chop after, allow for 30 minutes cooking time.) Drain and set aside to cool.

Once cool, stir in the pickles, celery, onion, eggs (discarding the water they soaked in), mustard and mayo, and stir together, seasoning to taste. I like to half-mash them to break up the texture so it’s somewhere between chunky and smooth. You can do anything for complete mashing to leaving the potatoes in big pieces. Top with fresh dill if using.

Serves a good sized crowd, and will stay good in the fridge for a week. 

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There are a few ways Potato Salad can go wrong.

Choice of spud is key: russets aren’t really your best bet, because they turn to slop so quickly. I’m a fan of catching that texture somewhere in between total mush and in-tact crunch, so something like a red bliss, fingerling, or even purple potato is better for me. The less starchy, the better. You’d want to pick a high-starch Russet for nice, fluffy mashed potatoes, but not so much for a salad where it’s important they hold their shape.

Fresh eggs, boiled just before you are about to make the salad, taste better.

I normally don’t do this, but seasoning the water for boiling the potatoes is key. Potatoes can end up pretty bland if you don’t salt the water. You can make sure you don’t damage your pans by adding the salt after the water is at a rolling boil, and before you add the potatoes to cook.

Let the potatoes cool off a bit before adding the mayo. If you add it too quickly while they are still warm, it can change the consistency of the dressing and turn it a bit oily. You can also use Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise if you prefer.

Finally, as I said above, I really feel like Miracle Whip is never the right choice, but I won’t judge too harshly those who disagree. 😉

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If you are in Boston, stay cool in the heat wave that’s just starting up. And happy Amazon Prime Day! What deals do you have your eye on? Popular items seem to be the Echo and the Instant Pot. There are also deals to be had on the Fire TV stick and kids tablets, if you’re in the market for one. On the food front, I might check out the markdown on a stainless pasta maker or a stand mixer. Personally, I’ll probably end up buying something boring like diapers or work shoes for myself; the dress form I really want is not on sale for Prime Day, unfortunately!

Don’t forget to also mark your calendars for the other big sale that happens this time of year — the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It is not to be missed and I’m already hard at work making my virtual wish list. 🙂

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