Ingredients

Combine and chill

© Wendi Los

A great potato salad trick is pouring a vinaigrette dressing over the potatoes before allowing the whole thing to cool (cut them into pieces as soon as you can without burning your fingers, then pour the dressing on top). Any vinaigrette you like will do, and you can afford to use quite a lot of salt in it because of the potatoes. I also use mustard, pepper, olive oil, white wine vinegar and garlic.

Once chilled, you mix the potato pieces with your sauce of preference - mine is a cholesterol booster with sour cream, mayonnaise, more mustard, and parsley or whatever green stuff I have available. And remember - it takes less sauce than you think, you are just supposed to cover the pieces, not teach them how to swim.

My ultimate and (no more) secret homemade potato salad recipe:

Approved by friends, family and party guests

To prepare my potato salad, you need:

Peel, then boil the potatoes. Let them cool for an hour. After cooling, cut the potatoes in discs of about 5 mm thickness. Boil the eggs (3 minutes).

Then chop up the pickles and onion. Cut the Schinken and Speck, fry the latter in a pan until crisp. Mix a tablespoon of mustard with half a glass of mayonnaise. Add salt, pepper and muscat powder to the mix according to preference.

Mix potatoes with sauce, add pickles, onion, Speck and Schinken and corn and put everything into a large bowl. (The chopped apple can be added at this stage as well). Taste, and maybe add more Salt, Pepper, Muscat. Cut the hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes in wedges and arrange on top of the salad. Refrigerate.

Serve along with hot Wuerstchen, Wieners work best. Enjoy!

Incidentally, this dish has been the traditional dinner on Christmas Eve in my family. It is a variation of North German Pototo Salad.

A couple days ago I wanted potato salad. Oh god, I wanted potato salad. Yet I did not want to go to the store to buy potato salad. Hmm, interesting. So I mucked about and ended up making some damn fine potato salad. You can make some damn fine potato salad too!

For a single large serving, or two small, you need:

Scrub your potatoes under the kitchen tap, removing any eyes with your fingernails or a sharp knife. Put them in a pot, cover with water, salt, and set on the back burner of your stove to boil. Depending on size, this should take a half hour to an hour.

Meanwhile, mix the vinegar, olive oil, and mustard in a bowl. I used the bowl from which I was planning to eat said potato salad, a little pyrex one about five inches in diameter. It works best to whisk your mixture with a fork, as oil and vinegar act much like oil and water. Chop your oregano up fine and add it to the bowl. You should have abundant green speckage; I used the leaves of two or three stems of oregano. You could also add fresh parsley or basil, if you have such things around the house. Chop and add the scallion as well; you could instead use a couple slices of red onion, or just regular white onion, if you are sparing with it. Make sure to chop all these very finely, such that they will stick to the chunks of potato easily. You can also add a diced hard boiled egg, if you want to bolster your salad with such a thing. Add some pepper and salt, and mix.

When the potatoes are done, drain them, then cover them with cold water and/or ice to chill them down quickly. If you are more patient than I, you can stick them in the refrigerator and make the salad an hour later. At any rate, when the potatoes are cool, dice them into pleasing chunks. My biggest chunks were maybe an inch square, as I wanted to expose maximum surface area for maximum dressing stickage. You can remove the peels of your potatoes if they start to come off. I left the majority of my peels on.

Dump the potato chunks into the dressing bowl and mix them up so as to coat them thoroughly. Add some more pepper and salt to dust the top of the mixture. Then stick the entire bowl in the refrigerator to let the flavors mingle while you run out to the store, where you could have bought potato salad in the first place, but at this point you have made your own, and it will be better than crappy grocery store deli potato salad, even though you did actually need to run to the store, thank you very much!

When you come back, eat your potato salad, preferably out on the porch in the nice breeze, with good wheat beer with lemon slice in hand. See? It is indeed better than the grocery store kind. Food. Ooh.

Potato salad recipes are two-a-penny. I know that I've two that I roll out regularly, two more that are slightly more unusual but in no way unfamiliar to my family, and another handful that I make every now and again. Tomes could be dedicated to potato salad alone and that makes me reluctant to write about boiled tubers. However, when I was telling LPM how I came by this potato salad recipe, I realised that it was probably worth writing down.

I was taught to make this when I was 19, by the grandmother of the first man with whom I fell in love, on a moshav somewhere in central Israel. Helen was born in what is now the Czech Republic, and lived through the Shoah, before making her way to Canada via Israel. This is a recipe that she brought with her from the 'old country', and is, therefore, far removed from the Mediterranean olive-oil-based food to which I am accustomed. She told me that it is mostly called Romanian potato salad, or salade de boeuf. We call it Israeli potato salad, which it most definitely isn't, but that's where I learned to make it so the name has stuck.

This is not glamourous food. This is simple food, full of strong flavours, that can be made from store cupboard ingredients. But sometimes, that's what you need. In fact, I normally make this when I'm cooking for a crowd. Of course, I now make it slightly differently from the version I was first taught, and I don't expect you to adhere to this recipe without deviation. You go with what works for you.


Ingrediments to serve, ehm, 20 as part of a buffet?

  • 2 kg (4lbs) salad potatoes — I particularly like the variety Charlotte, but anything small and waxy will do
  • EITHER 200g (6oz) frozen peas, blanched
  • AND 200g (6oz) carrots, cooked
  • OR, if you're in a hurry, 400g (14oz) tinned peas and carrots (This was the original recipe I was taught; it has a certain kitsch appeal, okay?)
  • 6 spears pickled cucumber — I use sweet-pickled ones, but I think that dill pickles would be fine, too
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise — I say two tablespoons, but you might use less, you might need more, this is very much to taste
  • Mustard — how much you use will depend on the variety; if you use a strong English mustard, a rounded teaspoon is normally enough; a milder French mustard will demand perhaps two teaspoons
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Scrub but don't peel your potatoes and ensure that they are all roughly the same size. I use baby potatoes to reduce preparation time, so I sometimes have to cut a few in half, but that's about it. Boil in salted water until tender. This will probably take around twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, either blanche your peas and cook your carrots, or drain the tinned vegetables. Then chop the carrots into chunks and cut up the pickled cucumbers, too. I was taught to make this with everything — potatoes, carrots, cucumbers — in uniform-sized chunks of about half a centimetre. Yes, that's right, about a quarter of an inch. Expediency has taught me to prefer slightly larger components.

Dollop a tablespoon of mayonnaise and the mustard into the bottom of the largest mixing bowl you own. (Be warned: it's possible that you might need to mix this in two or three batches because your bowl will be of insufficient capacity.) When the potatoes have cooked, drain them thoroughly and tip, whilst still warm, into the bowl with the mayonnaise. Toss over the vegetables and begin to mix. If it looks as if it needs more mayonnaise, add a little; however, mayonnaise is one of those ingredients that suddenly accumulates and then overwhelms. Be a little patient.

When everything looks evenly coated and distributed, taste it. Does it need salt and pepper? It might need a little more mustard, or even some more pickled cucumber. Make your final adjustments, give it another mix, and that's it. The ingredients will make it glow a slightly disconcerting radioactive green-yellow, but ignore that. It tastes delicious.

Variations

When it comes to traditional recipes, everyone always has their own way of doing things. I've had this with chopped hard boiled egg added, although I'm not so keen. AspieDad tells me his wife makes hers without the carrot, but with dill, onion, and egg. If you want to include some meat, chopped sausage is quite popular. As I said, it's store cupboard food. Whatever you have that you think will work, throw in.

DEB

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