Potato Salad

There is no such thing as really bad potato salad.  So long as the potatoes are not undercooked, it all tastes pretty good to me.  Some potato salads are sublime, some are miraculous and some are merely ordinary, but I have yet to taste any that was awful.

When I was young, potato salad was considered summer food.  My mother made her mother’s version, which included chopped celery and catsup in the dressing.  It was known as pink potato salad and was served at picnics and barbecues as an accompaniment to fried or grilled chicken.  No one would have ever thought of serving it in a formal setting.

Once I was out on my own and could cook to please myself, I figured that since I loved potato salad so much, other people did, too.  I began to serve it to my friends at dinner parties.

“Oh, potato salad,” they would say.  “I haven’t had any homemade in years!”

I gave it to them with thin sliced, peppery flank steak, and with cold roast chicken in the summer and hot roast chicken in the winter.  It was always a hit.

–“Potato Salad,” from Home Cooking, by Laurie Colwin, Harper Collins, New York, 1988

The only person who loves potato salad more than me is Pandagirl.  And I shamelessly bribed her to come food shopping with me tonight by promising potato salad with dinner.

My version of potato salad involves frozen peas going into the boiling water with the potatoes for the last 2 minutes.  Then it’s tossed with chopped scallions, chopped celery, mayonnaise, and mucho chopped dill.  I especially love using blue potatoes because it just comes out so pretty, but Trader Joe’s had no blues tonight so I went with their aptly named “teeny tiny” potatoes.

This was served on the deck with grilled chicken (marinaded in olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chopped oregano), and steamed asparagus (naked).  And a bouquet of roses and peonies (cough).

Are you a potato salad fan, and if so, what is your special version?



2 comments on “Potato Salad

  1. Stacie says:

    I don’t make potato salad because I can’t make it as good as my mom’s and hers is the best! Although there isn’t much to it – potatoes, celery, mayo, a little mustard, salt and pepper… I’m trying to think now if she puts in a few hard boiled eggs? Not sure, but it’s always scrumptious! (She leaves out the onions because I don’t like them… she’s sweet that way!)

  2. Carol Bierman says:

    Love that Laurie!! My mom made great potato salad using red potatoes, celery, onion, mayo (Hellmann’s) and hardboiled eggs. I continue to make it the same way with one change. I substitute Greek yogurt (no fat) for 1/2 of the mayo. I can’t tell the difference.

    Grandma Lou made German potato salad and Nonna made Gnocchi!!!

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