Friday, May 25, 2012

Old Fashioned Picnic Potato Salad - Like My Mom's Used to Be

Moms ALWAYS make the best potato salad, don't they?  In my Mom's case it was absolutely true.  Nobody could make potato salad they way she did - just the right balance of tart and sweet, salty and sour, smooth and tangy and creamy, not too much egg or mustard.  Balanced.  Every single picnic we went to her potato salad was the hit.  It was requested, demanded even! A picnic wasn't complete without Helen's potato salad!

The only one who sometimes had an issue with Mom's potato salad was Aunt Anna, who did NOT like onions!  And so every batch of potato salad had some taken out BEFORE the onions went in...just for Aunt Anna.  Well...except for this one time when we forgot and put the onions in first...oooops!  Knowing how disappointed Aunt Anna would be not to have her very own dish of that beautiful salad, we simply took of a little of the onion-laden potato salad into a small separate bowl.  We held our collective breath and waited.  

Aunt Anna proclaimed the potato salad delicious!  She never knew the difference.  Perhaps the years had dulled her sensitivity to the power of onion, perhaps it was the treat of her very own, very special bowl...we'll never know.  All we knew was she was delighted.  And so were we.

Old Fashioned Picnic Potato Salad - 
Like My Mom's Used to Be

Serves 8

  • 8 baking potatoes
  • 4 eggs

  • 3/4 green pepper, diced
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced fine

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise, Hellmans!
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • Jane's Crazy Salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed (optional) - depends upon your crowd

Place potatoes into a pot big enough to hold them AND the eggs.  Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat a little so it doesn't boil over, but keep it at a low boil.  Cook until potatoes can JUST be pierced easily with a knife.  Don't overcook!  Remove from heat and pour into a colander to cool slightly.
While the potatoes & eggs are cooling, Mix the diced veggies with about a teaspoon of the Crazy Salt and let sit to draw out the excess moisture for about 15 minutes.  Drain WELL.
While you're waiting for the moisture to come out of the veggies, mix the mayo, sugar, vinegar and mustard together well.  Set aside.
Peel and slice the potatoes into a large mixing bowl.  Peel the eggs.   Dice the eggs into the same mixing bowl.  Add the DRAINED veggies.  Pour most, not all, of the dressing over and mix lightly.  Taste, adjust seasoning with Crazy Salt and mix well again.  Add the rest of the dressing if it needs it....but you DON'T want a soupy potato salad.  

NOTE:  The hint above about salting and draining your veggies ahead of time?  Helps keep the potato salad from getting soupy...AGAIN with the soupy!

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