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25 May 2007

What makes a great potato salad? It's Memorial Day weekend BBQ time and I want your best potato salad recipes! What is essential? What transforms it from just ok to superb?

If you're not into potatoes what is your favorite BBQ side dish?
I meant to more inside that. Oops.
posted by bobobox 25 May | 13:18
Cook the potatoes, chunk them up, and douse lightly w/ vinaigrette (heavy on the vinegar) while still warm. When the potatoes are cooled off, add mayo to taste, some chopped red onion (pretty), maybe some chives (also pretty), lots of roughly chopped green olive. I have no idea where my Mom learned this, but I love this potato salad.
posted by theora55 25 May | 13:29
Boil potatoes, but don't remove the skins.
Cut them up in a bowl with a big spoon, but try not to mash too much.
Add mayo, mustard. (Use a good spicy mustard, and more mustard than mayo.)
Add a few stalks of celery, chopped.
Add chopped up dill pickles + a good amount of juice.
Add a couple boiled eggs, sliced, with or without yolk.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix it all up.
Sprinkle paprika liberally on top.
posted by Atom Eyes 25 May | 13:34
More mustard than mayo is the key.

Unless you make your own mayo, like the deli down the street. No, I don't have their recipe. No one does. I suspect heroin is a major ingredient.
posted by WolfDaddy 25 May | 13:46
Neither of us eats mayonnaise, so we never have it around. One day when I was hankerin' for some potato salad, I whipped a little plain yogurt with some olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, grated lemon zest, oregano, chili powder, some cayenne, and plenty of salt and pepper. Then I tossed it with still-warm potatoes, chunked up roughly, and a fistful of scallions. Chilled it a coupla hours.

That was some damn fine potato salad: tangy, a bit tart, creamy but not cloying. It's my standard recipe now.

My mother uses a standard mayo-based recipe (which I never learned), but she puts in diced cucumbers. It sounds kinda repulsive, but it's mighty tasty.
posted by Elsa 25 May | 13:49
Cinnamon just wrote a column about potato salads. Some good ideas in there.
posted by me3dia 25 May | 14:02
me3dia: At first, I thought you were going to suggest adding cinnamon to the potato salad. *gags*
posted by Atom Eyes 25 May | 14:11
Lots of fat, be it from mayonnaise or (boiled) egg yolks. I never could figure out how to make good potato salad, so I watched my mom make it once. That's the secret--make it really unhealthy. The MrsMoonPie even adds crumbled bacon.
posted by mrmoonpie 25 May | 14:16
I've got the fresh chives growing in my garden but no poppies. Next time on the heroin, next time.
I've added capers before, it was delicious as long as you like capers.

oh, thanks me3dia! I guess I'm not surprised I'm not alone in thinking about potato salads this time of year. I'm excited for my outdoor-eatin, beer-drinkin weekend.
posted by bobobox 25 May | 14:23
I don't like crunchy stuff in my potato salad, so no onions nor celery. I also don't like olives in salads generally.

Cubed-before-boiling skins-on potatoes and hard-boiled eggs (or even finely chopped scrambled eggs) with a dressing that is 1 part dijon mustard to 3 parts mayonnaise, perhaps a teaspoon of olive oil to thin.

I prefer simple potato salads (and pasta salads) because I consider them secondary and a complement to the main dish and not a feature of the meal.
posted by mischief 25 May | 14:29
Deviled eggs. no relish. macaroni salad, no onions or celery.
posted by jonmc 25 May | 14:48
I dunno, Atom Eyes, just a pinch of cinnamon might be an interesting twist. Not as a major flavor, though, I agree.
posted by me3dia 25 May | 14:59
i think mayonnaise is gross, so i'm not a big potato salad fan, BUT... that said my mom used to make red potato salad that was damn fine. the key was a vinegar-and-bacon dressing, to which she added dry mustard powder.

then add fresh chopped parsley, dill and chive, fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste.

i've also had sour cream-and-dill potato salad that was incredibly good, tho i think the key there was much garlic (!).

in lieu of potato salad, one of the things i've been bringing to all the local BBQs lately has been a big old box of fresh spring greens / herb salad, red onions, a box of fresh greek olives, some feta cheese and some homemade balsamic vinaigrette. it's self-serving because (just to continue the greek theme from lower down...) i love greek salads. however, i find that people *heart* this contribution in a big way. i never bring home leftovers, because for whatever reason there's usually a huge dearth of green eats at a BBQ.
posted by lonefrontranger 25 May | 15:25
One of these days I'll have to watch my mum make her tater salad (she doesn't use a recipe) because it's the bestest.
posted by deborah 25 May | 15:44
Deviled eggs.

Okay, I made some last week -- my first attempt. They came out so-so. I think the recipe I followed -- which had me add soy sauce to the mayo and mustard -- was off. Any suggestions for perfect deviled eggs?
posted by ericb 25 May | 17:41
ericb, check out this recent AskMe thread. Specifically, my recipe... ;P
posted by iconomy 25 May | 21:03
I make a number of kinds of potato salads.

One summer recipe I like with BBQ is the fairly standard one for Southern potato salad:

* 4 to 5 cups cubed waxy potatoes, cooked, drained, cooled*
* 1/2 cup chopped celery
* 1/2 cup chopped red onion (but I usually use Vidalia sweet onions)
* 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
* 2 tablespoons chopped sweet pickle
* 2 teaspoons sweet pickle juice
* 1/2 to 2/3 cup mayonnaise
* 1/2 to 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

To which I add a teaspoon of ground cumin seed, some fresh garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika sprinkled on top as a garnish. The cumin "pulls" the flavor towards BBQ a bit, I think.
posted by paulsc 25 May | 21:12
Easiest, and bestest:

New potatoes (jackets on), boiled till a bit short of done, usually about 15-20 mins. Make a very sharp, peppery, garlicky, mustardy vinaigrette. Mix into spuds and 'frigerate. THAT IS ALL!

Garnish if you must, but all else is really overkill.
posted by rob511 25 May | 23:50
Paprika is key. Also key is a layer of thinly sliced radishes on top, for color and deliciousness.

I have made potato salad many ways, but I am off mayo mostly so I think I may try a yogurt variation, as yogurt is my go-to substitution for anything white and creamy (add smarmy joke....NOW).

posted by SassHat 26 May | 00:18
My best potato salad always comes from baked potatoes.
posted by Mitheral 26 May | 00:25
iconomy -- thanks. I missed that AskMe thread.
posted by ericb 26 May | 11:43
I just wanted everyone to know that I'm so inspired by this thread that I'm making potato salad today. The eggs and potatoes are on the stove as we speak.
posted by box 26 May | 12:33
Me too box! I'd been meaning to try Neneh Cherry's recipe (yep, Neneh Cherry now has a cookery show - how weird is that?), and this tipped me over the edge. The 'secret ingredient' of cheapo gherkin relish is intriguiing.
posted by jack_mo 27 May | 05:10
In short, || Linux gamers? What games do you play?