Subscribe RSS


Mom's Potato Salad

When I was growing up, there were some dishes at Easter dinner that were always the same, and some dishes that varied from year to year.  The standards were ham, fruit salad, and potato salad, and the other side dishes and desserts changed.  The potato salad was the most anticipated one of the year, because it was the first one of the year, and signaled the start of spring and summer meals featuring barbequed meats and salads galore.  My mom is a great cook and her potato salad is, I think, unique.  I've never tasted another one like it anywhere.  It's very simple, creamy, not vinegary, and has no pickles in it.  Its surprise ingredient, which people always have a hard time identifying, is fresh cucumber.  When I first started making this potato salad, it never tasted the same as my mom's!  It was so frustrating!  The first problem was that there wasn't an actual recipe -- mom rarely used recipes, preferring to just put things together.  Finally, one year my grandmother decided she wanted a written recipe, so she watched mom make it and wrote things down as they went along.  That helped, but mine still wasn't as good as hers.  Then, a couple years ago, mom happened to mention that red potatoes work best because they stay firmer when cooked, which was not noted in the recipe.  Also not noted was what size to cut the vegetables.  After watching mom make it about a year ago, I realized I'd been cutting mine much too big.  Just that change alone made a huge difference!  You'll note in the picture that there is a tool laying on the board.  It's a cutter for making french fries.  I've found it's the perfect tool for cutting up the cooked potatoes, at least for the first cut.  Then I just cut the long pieces shaped like french fries into little cubes.  Perfect!  And then there was the issue of the dressing -- again, no amounts were given, so it was experiment and take notes, over and over until the big day finally arrived:  potato salad that tasted just like mom's!  So, here it is, with all the details noted so you can have success your first time around.  Oh yeah, another note:  this tastes best if made the day before you want to serve it -- the flavors really meld and the salt mellows out.  If you're going to serve it shortly after making it, you'll need to cut back on the salt a little.  The potatoes seem to absorb quite a bit as it sits -- sometimes you even have to add a little the next day.  Be sure you taste test it before serving.

Mom's Potato Salad

6-8 large red potatoes, boiled whole in jackets, then peeled and cubed small when cool
8 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut small
1 medium onion, chopped very fine
3 single celery stalks, cubed small
1/2 large or 1 small cucumber, cubed small
3 Cups real mayonnaise
2 rounded Tbsp regular yellow mustard
1-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper

Cut up all vegetables and combine in large bowl.  Mix mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper together.  Pour over vegetables and mix well.  Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.  Makes about 10-11 cups of salad--enough for a crowd (12+)!

The onion I had was huge, so I just used half of it.  I also used half of an English cucumber, since they're sweeter and have tiny seeds compared to the cucumbers you can get at the store this time of year.  Later in the summer, the regular cucumbers get better, or best yet, you can get a perfect one out of your garden!

You can see how everything is cut up pretty small.

Here's what it looks like when it's done:  cool, creamy, yummy!  I sprinkled the top with some dried parsley for a little color.  Feel free to decorate it with whatever you'd like--be creative!  If you've made it the day before serving, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.  Remember to taste it to adjust the salt before serving.  Enjoy! 

No comments:

Post a Comment