Wife-Pleasing Potato Salad
You have to understand, some of the most heated discussions I’ve had with my husband revolved around how to prepare food. And when it comes to potato salad we completely disagree on what’s good—that was until a month or so ago.
I like a light potato salad—red potatoes with the skins still on tossed with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, garlic, and fresh herbs like chives, dill, and parsley. My husband, on the other hand, reaches for the more traditional potato salad, with generous amounts of mayo, hardboiled eggs (which I can’t stomach), and a little pickle relish tossed in. For years, at family picnics, we’ve had dueling potato salads—mine drenched with herbs, his with mayo. We would prepare a big batch of potatoes and then separate them after cooking so that we could create our own versions. Of course, we weren’t content at just making our recipes—we wanted our kids to judge which one was better (I think Bobby Flay’s Throwdown on the Food Network had just become popular.)
My oldest daughter—ever the diplomat—would diligently try each one and then say that she liked both. Ah, the safe answer.
But making two potato salads became tedious—twice the amount of bowls, cleanup half the amount of food. My husband decided to try and make a hybrid version of our salads—merging our favorite elements to create something both of us would like.
I was readying my “that’s-nice-dear” face, especially when he pulled out the hardboiled eggs. But he really did try to merge what I liked best, with his favorite ingredients. In were the skin on red potatoes and a smattering of fresh herbs; out was gobs of mayo. The hardboiled eggs stayed, but instead of putting them in sliced, he creamed the yolks into the mayo-based sauce as a thickener, then he diced the whites. Instead of just putting in regular, yellow mustard he added in Dijon too along with diced pickles (not the spoonful of sweet relish). The results were a more flavorful, tangy potato salad. I ate two helpings the first time he made it (and had some for breakfast on day too).
No doubt, you have your own opinions about what makes for the perfect potato salad, but if you’re planning on a picnic for the 4th of July, or any time this summer, you should try making a few tweaks to your traditional recipe and see if you get requests for second and third helpings—and if you have one of your kids request it for breakfast, well then you know it’s good.
Better Potato Salad Recipe
Prep time: 40 minutes
2 ½ pounds red potatoes
½ small red onion, diced fine
1 ¼ cup mayo
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½-1 teaspoon yellow mustard
½-1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 drops liquid smoke
3 drops Tabasco sauce
½ teaspoon chili powder
2 pickle spears, diced fine
2 Tablespoons minced, fresh chives
1 4-ounce can green chiles (optional, but good!)
Crumbled bacon (optional)
Fill a large cooking pan with water leaving about 1½ inches of space from the rim. Peel any hard surface spots off of the red potatoes and then cut into half-inch cubes. Place the cubes into the water along with two eggs. Place the pan over high heat on your stovetop and bring to a gentle boil. Add 1 Tablespoon of salt to the cooking water.
Cook the potatoes until they are firm to the touch but soft in the center. Drain immediately and rinse with cold water. Place the eggs into ice cold water. Allow the potatoes to cool while you mix up your sauce.
For the sauce—combine the mayonnaise and the rest of the ingredients (except diced onions and pickles) in a mixing bowl. Remove the shells from the hardboiled eggs. Scoop the cooked yolk out of the center of the eggs and whisk it into the sauce. The yolks will thicken the sauce and should break up during stirring. Dice the white egg parts using a sharp knife.
In a large bowl combine the cooked potatoes, onions, egg whites, and pickles, herbs. Add the sauce and stir. Adjust the seasonings—you may need to add more salt, pepper or vinegar to get the flavor perfect for your palate. If you’re looking for a real kick to your potatoes, we also add one fresh, diced Serrano chili with the seeds removed.