FoodGirl and the kitchen

Classic American Potato Salad

Mmmm… Potato salad! Does anything spell American BBQ more than potato salad? I do not think so!

There was a time that I did not “stomach” potato salad. Not one bit. I could not fathom cold, mayonnaise-drenched potatoes being something that was appealing to me. That all changed one day.

I was working in a super busy cafeteria that serviced 3,000 people a day and it just so happened to be picnic season. During this season we made batches upon batches of potato salad. Huge 5-gallon vats of potato salad would disappear in a day’s time as we served it at our picnics and in the cafeteria. I even packaged it up and sold the stuff by the pound as most grocery stores did. Watching and serving the salad all day long made it even more unappealing to me.

But one day I was the only chef manager in the kitchen, when one of my favorite cooks Teresa offered me to taste the mayonnaise-drenched goodness. “No, gracias Teresa! Seguro esta bien.” (No, thanks Teresa; I’m sure it’s good). She waved her head, dunked a plastic spoon into the gooey mixture and said: “Here!” I had a feeling she was not going to take “no” for an answer. Well, I had to taste it. So I sucked it up and tasted it… Teresa watched me with the usual cheery smile on her face. And then the unbelievable happened. I accidentally breathed… You see, I was holding my breath hoping not to taste anything. I know, I know, and I call myself a chef! But people! I have a wretchedly evil gag reflex! But when I breathed, I was surprised to find that what was being passed around in my mouth was… surprisingly delicious. It was creamy, but not in the gross way I had imagined. It had all the texture and mouth feel that I expected it to have… and textures were delectable.

“MMMMM… Es muy delicioso, Teresa,”  (That’s delicious, Teresa) I said to her. She smiled, thanked me and began placing them in huge Tupperware containers to be used later on that day. And I continued eating the salad. It was not all creamy; there was some crunch to it and even some tanginess. And it was just what this girl’s appetite wanted. Not needed, wanted. No one actually NEEDS potato salad, let’s be honest.

The next day I stood by Teresa and watched her make the salad. Such simple ingredients came together to make the ultimate classic potato salad. She made it with such knowing hands and such precision. Never measuring anything, but consistently getting the same result. That ladies and gents is a pro.

And so I pass on her delicious recipe to you. I promise THIS will be the only recipe for potato salad you will ever need! I brought this over to a BBQ I attended and it was gobbled up instantly!

I will say that though… I prefer making it the night before and letting the flavors merry a bit. It’s a lot yummier that way!

INGREDIENTS:

5 pounds of red potatoes
5 hard-boiled eggs
1 bunch of scallions finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, finely diced
¾ cup of sour cream
¾ cup of mayonnaise
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. First wash up your potatoes. I like to use classic small red potatoes. Cut them up in quarters, if they are small, or in eights, if they are the larger ones.
  2. Place them in a pot with a few pinches of salt and bring to a boil.
  3. While you are at it, grab some eggs and hard-boil them. I got a nifty tutorial for you on how to make the easiest and most perfect hard boiled eggs every time.
  4. While that’s working for you, finely dice some celery.
  5. When your potatoes are juuuuuust fork tender, dump them into a colander and let them cool. In fact, you can always do this the night before as well.
  6. Place the potatoes in a bowl and crumble up your eggs right on top of there. I just mushed the eggs with my hand, but feel free to do this with your fork, if you would like.
  7. Chop up a bunch of scallions (about ¾ of a cup)… I like it really scalliony, because I feel it really brings out the flavor in the potatoes. Add the scallions to the heap as well.
  8. Now add ¾ cup of sour cream, ¾ cup of mayo, ¼ cup of Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Mix everything with a big spatula or your hands. I prefer to use my hands, because you get the “dressing” distributed a bit more evenly this way. Check for seasonings and see if you need it zestier, saltier or if it’s just right!
  9. Garnish with scallions and enjoy!

For a step by step tutorial and more pictures go to www.girlandthekitchen.com.

Mila Furman

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