The All-American Potato Salad

Potato salad is one of those quintessential American dishes that I am a major sucker for. Whether or not it’s origins are actually American, the classic potato salad with egg and mayonnaise always conjures up images of a July 4 weekend picnic. For some reason, I always had it in my head that these creamy salads had vinegar in them, but whenever I went to make one off the top of my head, they were always a bit of a failure. So I turned to the ‘Tasty Kitchen’ of a blog I follow called The Pioneer Woman. For classic, all-American food, the Tasty Kitchen is the place to go! Once I tried this recipe I realized the errors in my ways. The mayo alone paired with the buttermilk gives this salad it’s tangy goodness. In a matter of days and a few alterations, this came to be the potato salad to which all other potato salads are compared. Since it’s so basic, you can easily add things like finely chopped green pepper, pickles, or celery.  And, like all potato salads, it’s perfect for a picnic!

Serves 8 (I halved it and make it for 4. Warning: this makes the measurements very finicky.)

  • 1 cup mayonnaise. It’s godda be Hellmann’s or homemade. Sorry, no Miracle Whip here!
  • cup buttermilk
  • ¾ tsp dried parsley or a handful fresh finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper (I just eyeballed this)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 4 to 4 ½ pounds potatoes (I went for the 4 ½ because I like a bigger potato to dressing ratio)
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ a red onion
  1. Place the eggs in a medium size pot with enough water to cover the eggs by about an inch. Add a pinch of baking soda (sounds weird, i know, but trust me) and put on to boil.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, measure out the mayonnaise, mustard, buttermilk, garlic salt, parsley, and black pepper into a jar or container that you can shake. This is the dressing.
  3. Once the water reaches a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for another 15 minutes.
  4. Turning back to the dressing, shake the container until all the ingredients mix evenly. For a vigorous shaker, this will take about 30 seconds.
  5. Next, chop the red onion into a very fine dice. The smaller the pieces the better! If you have a food processor, you can chuck it in there.
  6. When it is time to take out the eggs, fill a bowl with cold water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs from the pot to the bowl. Keep the hot water, you’ll need it for the potatoes. The cold water bath prevents that blue layer between the yolk and whites from forming.
  7. Add some salt to the hot water and put it onto boil. Add the potatoes whole topping off the water if necessary. Depending on the size of your potatoes, it will take 20-30 minutes for the potatoes to cook. Don’t worry if they are not 100% cooked in the middle, it’s better if the potatoes are undercooked rather than over. It may sound strange to boil the potatoes whole, but it’s a great potato salad trick I picked up from Martha Stewart. Since the potatoes are begin exposed to less water as they cook, they will be able to take in more of the dressing which takes their yumminess to a whole new level.
  8. As you wait for the potatoes to cook, peel and chop the eggs. I like the eggs cut in half and then sliced so you get little half moons. For a great (and efficient) way to peel your eggs, check this out:
  9. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them REALLY well. The drier the potatoes are, the more dressing they will absorb and the yummier they will be. My technique is to put them in a sieve and let them sit there for about 15 minutes. This a) gets rid of all the water and b) lets them cool enough to be handled.
  10. Once the potatoes are cool enough (don’t burn yourself please!), chop the potatoes into bite size pieces.
  11. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, potatoes, and onions until everything is evenly distributed. Then pour over the dressing. This recipe is best if you let it sit overnight before eating it so the potatoes have a chance to absorb all the flavours. I know it’s hard, but your taste buds will thank you!
  12. The next day, season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy :)

As a massive sucker for the all-american potato salad, I love this recipe!! Every now and then I spice it up a bit by adding some celery for crunch or 2 dill pickles finely chopped for a little zing of flavour. This time I kept it simple and ate it alongside a portobello mushroom burger. Such a summer meal!

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