Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Doctor’s Potato Salad

Dr. Nurse makes a fantastic potato salad. It’s so good that when the family is doing a pot-luck, the two most requested items are her mother’s banana pudding and this. And we’re talking dozens of relatives with many, many recipes each. Tonight, she posted the recipe in a FB group for our youngest goddaughter’s grandmother’s birthday (clear on that?). Here’s what she said:

Creamy Potato Salad (adapted from a recipe appearing in our 1981 copy of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.)

What follows is the recipe for a small batch. For feeding large crowds, I’ve put the larger quantities at the end.


Small batch:

Fill a stockpot 1/2 way full of water, add a bit of salt, put on to boil.

While the water is heating up, chop into medium-sized pieces
* 2-2½ # unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes (about 6 baking potatoes). [Do not peel the potatoes. Really. It’s a complete waste of time.]
Set aside.

Mix in a medium-sized bowl & set aside:
* ½ cup finely chopped white onions (I use the Pampered Chef version of the Slap Chopper)
* ⅓ cup sweet pickle relish (Mount Olive brand is great!)

Right about now, the water should be boiling. Add:
* the chopped potatoes
* 2 eggs
Reduce heat just enough to keep things boiling. Set timer for 15 minutes.

Mix together in another bowl:
* 1 & ¼ cup Mayo
* 2 tsp sugar
* 2 tsp celery seed
* 2 tsp white vinegar
* 1 ½ tsp salt
* 2 Tbsp mustard (just plain cheap yellow mustard)

(Note on Mayo: Mayo preferences are very impassioned and very regional. That being said, I think this recipe tastes best with Dukes Mayonnaise. I buy new jars each time I make it.
If you are planning to have the potato salad outside for some period of time, you might want to use Miracle Whip Salad Dressing -- which also tastes a bit tangier. But then, you’ll have cooked eggs sitting out in the heat, and what’s the point of putting all of that work into a recipe that you’re just going to let go bad? Better to use the Dukes and keep the salad in the cooler.)

When the timer for the potatoes and eggs goes off, follow the instructions below.

  1. Strain off the water, leaving potatoes and eggs in a colander. DO NOT RINSE.
    (1.b. If you’ve rinsed off the potatoes, start over….)
  2. Return the potatoes to your stock pot. It makes a great HOT mixing bowl.
  3. Leave the eggs in the colander -- run cold water over them to stop the cooking process (so the yolks don’t turn green) and quickly peel off the shells. Leave the eggs in cool water.
  4. Add the onions and pickle relish to the hot potato pieces. Stir furiously -- you’re starting the mashing process, sweetening the potatoes and lightly cooking the onion and pickle flavors into each bite. You’re also softening up the veggies.
  5. Add the mayo mixture. Stir furiously. Things may start looking soupy and you may worry you have more sauce than potatoes. You’re fine.
  6. Set down that hot stock pot and head back to the sink where your eggs are chilling. Chop them finely, and bring them over to your work area.
  7. Add the eggs to your potato mixture. Stir well.
  8. Transfer the potato salad into a smaller bowl and set into the fridge to cool. I use 1-2 shallow pans so that the evaporative cooling goes more quickly, and then I transfer the whole thing into one bowl for serving.
  9. Get started on those dishes. You have been cooking and chopping, measuring and mixing almost the entire time that the potatoes were cooking, so you probably haven’t had a chance to clean up yet.
  10. After 2-3 hours, enjoy a truly different creamy potato salad. You’ve got tang, interesting flavors and textures in the celery seed and lightly cooked onions and relish bits, and in the small pieces of potato skin that were cooked into the mixture.


Quantities for large gatherings (ratio conversations are occasionally imprecise, but still tasty!)

* 5 pound bag of Yukon gold potatoes, chopped and NOT peeled (best if cooked in two large stock pots)
* 5 eggs
* 1 ¼ cup finely chopped white onion (or an entire large white onion!)
* 1 8-oz jar of Mount Olive Sweet Pickle Relish
* 3 8-oz jars of Duke’s Mayo
* 5 tsp (1 Tbsp and 2 tsp) of each of the following:
   --celery seed
   --white vinegar
* 1 Tbsp salt
* 5 Tbsp mustard


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