My Version of Perfect Potato Salad


June 18, 2012 by lytlejoc

I love potato salad but I’m a snob about it.

I don’t like it too vinegar-y. I like the potatoes to be firm yet tender, not mashed. I have this persistent mental concept of potato salad that I always think I’m going to make, but inevitably I just throw stuff into the bowl and hope it turns out. This means that I rarely make the same version of anything twice and also means that my potato salad almost never matches the concept that I’m craving. (Sometimes it even means that I have to get reeeeeeeally creative with a very weird concoction just to make it edible.)

Here in Vancouver, this June has been the coldest on record. Yesterday we had an afternoon gathering with my family to say so long before we make tracks East and so I decided to pretend it was actually nice out and make it a picnic. And what goes better with a picnic on a gorgeous day than potato salad? (Well… beer, obviously. But I had that covered.)

The sky stubbornly stayed grey, but I made some potato salad and through a twist of fate, it turned out EXACTLY the way I love it. I had to capture the recipe before it fled merrily from my (beer-soaked) mind and thought that there would be no better way to do that than to post it. (For the record, I know that this blog has turned out to mostly be about food related things and I promised more than just recipes. I solemnly vow to post about other topics once I’m settled on my beloved East Coast.)

My perfect potato salad has these things in it:

Potatoes – White or yellow potatoes are best. Yukon Golds are best of the best. They will hold their shape and not turn into mashed potatoes… if you don’t over mix the salad.

Eggs – Guess what? Boiling an egg perfectly is really easy but I never knew that you could do it without having a gray, mealy yolk. This way makes your egg yolks look like cheerful little balls of sunshine.

Mayonnaise – Sauce of the gods.

Peas – Frozen ones. Never canned ones. Ever.

Bacon – This little addition is a new one. I added some on the spur of the moment yesterday since I happened to have some in the fridge, and I do not believe I will ever leave it out again. Besides, I even know some vegetarians who will sneak a little bacon now and then. Everyone loves bacon.

You could make a pretty decent potato salad with just those four ingredients, but why stop at pretty decent? Really, there need not be any further preamble, so here you go:

My Perfect Potato Salad Recipe

Potato Salad is not photogenic.

5 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes

3 large eggs

4 slices of bacon (Thick cut bacon is the ultimate choice here.)

4 green onions

1 rib of celery (I didn’t have this to put in the salad yesterday, but I missed the little crunchy bits.)

1/4 cup of frozen peas

1 cup of mayonnaise (Light or full fat, your choice.)

2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon of relish

1 tablespoon of olive oil (optional)

Salt, pepper, and dill to taste

How to do it:

Wash and dice the potatoes. If you ARE using white or yellow potatoes, you don’t have to peel them. In fact, red potatoes are great here too, and no need to peel them either. I like this extra because it means less work. And less work for mama makes mama happy. Cover them with water in a large pot and add about a teaspoon or so of salt. Bring to a boil and let them bubble away for about 10 minutes, or until you can pierce them with a gentle poke of a fork. Remove from heat and drain.

Boil your eggs using the method linked above. By the way, don’t skip the step of the ice bath at the end. It stops the cooking process and makes the eggs easier to peel. Once they are peeled, dice them and add them to the potatoes.

I consider this a life cheat.

Dice the green onions and celery. (Hey! Did you know that you can make your green onions last a little longer? Just save the white part of the onions and put them in a jar of water in the sun. After a few days, you’ll have new green onions that you can chop up all over again! I’ve discovered you can use them 2 or 3 times before they quit. God love Pinterest.) Put them in with the potatoes and eggs.

Throw the peas in there too. No need to cook them – they thaw pretty fast.

Dice and fry the bacon until it’s crumbly. I like bacon until it’s almost cremated, but use your own discretion to decide the doneness (that’s not a real word. But I use it anyway.) Pop it in with the other stuff.

Generously salt and pepper the whole mess. Gently toss these ingredients together, but not too much! You don’t want mashed potatoes. Or at least, I don’t, anyway.

In a separate bowl, combine mayo, mustard, relish, olive oil and dill. You can use dried dill, or fresh dill. Either work, but obviously fresh is best. You can also buy dill in a little tube that will keep in your fridge for a long time. In my experience, it’s pretty much as good as fresh dill. And it really does keep a long, long time. I just threw a tube out because I noticed it was two years past its expiration date. Oops.

Pour the sauce over the potato mixture and toss again to coat them in yumminess.

Now you’re done. Put it in the fridge, covered, for a while or eat it right away. It does get better with age, though, so if you can make it the night before you plan to eat it, all the better. But a few hours will work too.

This recipe will serve about 8 – 10 people, depending on how hungry they are.

Enjoy! And do share – how do you like your potato salad? 


2 thoughts on “My Version of Perfect Potato Salad

  1. Another fun recipe, replete with your usual tongue in cheek (goes well with food!) humor. Thanks! This recipe is similar to my own, and it is yummy. I do add a splash (I rarely measure) of apple cider vinegar to “the whole mess” as you say. Adds a nice little “bite”. You havn’t posted in awhile, I assume you are with your father. I hope all is going well. I leave to see mine again in a week. My best to you always.

  2. Melanie says:

    Hey there, I have a perfect Caesar Salad Potato salad recipe that I love, love, love, and I would be willing to share. Also one trick I’ve started doing to avoid the overcooked potato is that I now roast them instead of boiling. I have to say, I don’t know why I didn’t start doing this earlier. The salad tastes so much better with roasted potatoes.

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