Before we get to this classic potato salad recipe, let’s talk taters and some tater facts.
Remember when our teachers used to encourage us to be stupid by saying “There are no stupid questions!” So here’s my stupid question, Where are Idaho Potatoes Grown?”
You see…I bought this bag of potatoes at Costco. It reads “Idaho Potatoes, Product of USA”. These beautiful potatoes are just a tad larger than fingerlings, and with their perfect rosy complexion appear as just harvested new potatoes. Just like the ones we clamor for in early summer.
But wait a minute! Isn’t Idaho potato harvest in late summer??? It’s March.
The first question that came to mind was “Can Idaho Potatoes be grown in warmer climate states and still carry the Idaho Potato logo?” If not, have these little beauties been in some sort of high-tech cold storage all this time? I assume the later, and impressed with whoever and whatever preserved these little guys, considering installing a unit in my home and I’ll sit around in it!
Back to this purchase. These potatoes seem perfect. Ruby Red on the outside with buttery gold flesh inside they are creamy, sweet, tender and a rare treat any time of year. I’ve never had them before and where ever they’ve been hiding, I want them year ’round. If you see a bag, I highly suggest you grab it and give them a try.
So with all that said, let’s talk potato salad.
When I think of potato salad, I think “All-American…summer…picnics…back yard BBQ’s…” But is Potato Salad really All-American? From what I read on a Google search, our cold mayonnaise based version was surely inspired by German immigrants who served theirs warm and with vinegar.
While I like German Potato Salad, our version, with creamy mouthfeel and served up just right and wrapped around a dependable American potato just can’t be beat.
What’s your riff on potato salad? Let me know in your replies. Here’s how I do potato salad.
- I take about 8 medium-sized red-skinned potatoes, all about the same size. I use red-skinned potatoes because they are lower in starch so they hold their shape better. Higher in sugar, I think they make a better tasting potato salad.
- Cover un-peeled potatoes in water in a large kettle and gently simmer until tender. You’ve got to watch them closely. If you cook them too long, you’ll have mashed potatoes when you mix the salad, not enough and you’ve got that raw potato taste.
- Meanwhile, chop your vegetables. I use about a cup of sweet or green onion, 2 – 3 stalks of celery, thin sliced pimento-stuffed green olives and some chopped bacon. Place them in a large bowl.
- When potatoes are cooked perfectly, drain them in a colander. Here’s where I decide if I leave the skins on or off. If the skins are sweet and tender, I leave them. At this point, I take a knife and very coarsly chop them while they’re draining in the colander.
- Pour steaming chunks of potatoes over the bowl of chopped vegetables and let sit for about 5 minutes before stirring. I like to do this so the flavors marry a little bit.
- Top with 1/2 cup mayonnaise and a tablespoon of mustard. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and gently mix. At this time I start adjusting the flavors, adding more mustard and mayo, if needed, for both texture and taste.
- Refrigerate until serving time.
It’s What’s For A Side
Here some Tater facts that I found on the www:
Varieties: Potatoes with a high starch content, like russets, bake well and yield light and fluffy mashed potatoes. Those with a low starch content, like red-skinned potatoes, hold their shape after cooking, and are great for making potato salads and scalloped potatoes. Medium starch potatoes are called all-purpose potatoes, and they’ll work in most potato dishes.
Best for baking: Russet potato
Best for potato salads, gratins, and scalloped potatoes: Yellow Finn potatoes, new potatoes, red-skinned potatoes, white round potatoes, and purple potatoes
Best for mashing: Russet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, Caribe potatoes, and purple potatoes
Best for soups and chowders: Yukon gold potatoes, Yellow Finn potatoes, red-skinned potatoes, white round potatoes, and purple potatoes
Best for pan-frying: Red-skinned potatoes, white round potatoes, new potatoes, and fingerling potatoes
Best for French fries: Russet potatoes, purple potatoes, Bintje potatoes
Best for purees: Fingerling potatoes
Best for roasting: New potatoes, Bintje potatoes
Best for steaming: New potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes
Best for potato pancakes: Russet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes