Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mustard potato salad

Yep, that is 5 quarts of potato salad in the 8 qt pot it was mixed in. I am not sure whether this recipe came from my mom's or dad's side of the family. I am guessing my dad's as they were more in to big family and church gatherings. As I remember it from about 5 decades ago the recipe goes something like this:

 a 10 lb bag of russet potatoes
 a dozen hard boiled eggs
 a quart jar of mayonnaise (Best foods, the only substitute I have found is the Albertson's store brand
 A small jar of dill pickles
 the juice from the pickles
 a head of celery
 a 3 lb bag of yellow onions
 a small jar of prepared mustard (this was before squirt bottles, 6-8oz I think)
Seasoned salt
Paprika to sprinkle over the top

As you can figure out this is enough potato salad to feed a small army and as an adult I have only made the full recipe a couple of times. I was conscripted labor on more than one occasion to help make this.:-) Here is the recipe as I made it for a potluck this last weekend:

5 lbs of potatoes
9 hard boiled eggs
3 medium yellow onions
4 big stalks of celery
6 dill pickle spears
24 oz of mayonnaise (Best Foods)
a few really healthy squirts of prepared mustard
1/4 cup of dill pickle juice
seasoned salt
Paprika for garnish

This is still a pretty good sized bowl of potato salad. Knowing the ingredients is only part of making the difference between a pretty good potato salad and a really great potato salad. First off I seldom measure anything unless I am baking so you have some room to experiment with your perfect mix. The potatoes should be about 1/2-5/8" cubes, the eggs should be about 3/8" cubed (just squished with your hands), the celery, onions and pickles should be 1/8-1/4" cubed. Yes, this is labor intensive.  The desired result is every bite should have the full complexity of the flavors. I tried for the first time in decades cooking the potatoes with the skins on, I did not like it then and it was still a mess now, not doing that again. Put the the potatoes in a pot of full boiling/lightly salted water and as soon as they are piercing tender take them to the sink and drop a bucket of ice on them and then run cold water over them before draining (if you have ever blanched vegetables for freezing this will make more sense). If you have time put the potatoes and peeled eggs in the fridge for an hour before combining them. Mix all the liquid ingredients and the seasoned salt in a bowl before folding them into the solid ingredients.  Refrigerate over night.

This is the 12 quart pot I grew up with making potato salad and a few other things. It will hold 10 pounds of potatoes and was also the only container in the house capable of holding 9-10 quarts of potato salad for serving. I am glad to now have it and it's lid back.


Kenneth Whiting said...

That is similar to the potato salad I make (the only potato salad my wife will eat). We like to use red potatoes sometimes, if you accidentally boil them a little too long they still hold their shape instead of turning to mash. We also add grated cheese to the potatoes while they are hot to coat each piece, while they are hot is important it's just not the same if you mix the cheese in with everything else. We put bacon bits in too.

Raytheist said...

Yeah, that's pretty much the way I remember it.

I don't boil potatoes for anything; they are better, more flavorful and firm with steaming.

I thought you'd always had all the big Farberware pots and lids and everything...?