Potato Salad

My recipe for potato salad makes a LOT. Which is fine, we set it in the refrigerator and eat it over a week or so, but I thought you should know before we get started.

I start with five pounds of potatoes. Yes, five pounds for two people. I’ve made it with several different types of potato, but I prefer russets. As a minor digression, people will tell you not to use these because they all apart so easily when fully cooked. I like the soft texture, and the small amount of falling apart helps with the overall salad.

I peel them, cube them (1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes, and be as consistent as possible), and put them in a pot of water. Bring that to a boil and let simmer till the cubes are fork-tender (holding their shape, but a fork goes into them fairly easily).

While they’re boiling I prepare everything else. Now once more I’m a bit of a “this looks good” cook, and I’ll add a few extras now and then. But the basic is the basic.

My main mixing bowl needs to be large. Look at the quantities and you’ll understand.

I will use 3 cups of mayonnaise. By preference I take a quart jar and remove 1/4 that I’ll set aside in a storage container for something else. Yes, I could make mayo. In this case I’m being lazy.

I’ll peel and dice two medium onions. 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice depending on the sweetness of the onion (the sweeter the onion the larger the dice.)

I will 1/2 inch dice all the dill pickles in a 3-pint jar. Yes, that’s a lot of pickles.

Back to that mayo jar… I’m going to add about 3/4 cup of brine from the dill pickle jar. I’m then going to squeeze in 1/4 to 1/3 cup of standard yellow mustard. Put the lid on the jar and shake it to get everything mixed, then pour it into the bowl with the onions and pickles.

By this time the potatoes should be done. Drain them, let them sit for about a minute, and dump them into the bowl. Stir till it’s all well mixed. At this point it look, well, soupy – or at least it should.

Put it in the refrigerator. At about the four hour point give it a good stir. You’ll notice it’s begun to thicken. Leave it overnight. By the time you eat it the next day it will be stiffer. Part of this is starch thickening the pickle juice and mayo. Part of it is the potatoes absorbing some of the liquid.

This will keep in the refrigerator for, well, we take about a week to finish it off and its still fine. The flavors will develop further over the second day, then they seem to stabilize with no more change. I’ve never bothered to freeze it but don’t see why it wouldn’t work; for those who don’t want potato salad for a week.

What else do I throw into this when I go ‘extra’? Mild peppers (banana or cherry) diced up make a nice bite. Hard boiled eggs work. I’ve broken up “dipping” veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli – just the florets, and broken to the 1/4-1/2 inch diameter size. I threw in a bag of sunflower seeds (without shells) once, and that worked well. Basically, any accent – taste or texture – that complements the slightly sour mouthsome taste of a basic potato salad.

Have fun.


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