Thursdays Are For Cooking!

| July 30, 2020

Baby red potatoes

And this week’s attempt at a free-for-all in food is that summer specialty, potato salad.

Now, since this is really one of those side dishes you throw together, sometimes out of leftovers and end-of-the-stalk stuff, the ingredients are wide open.  My personal favorite is plain old American-style potato salad, with no special “things” in it, and I will proceed.

Potatoes: I use red potatoes, peel them and wash them, and (since it’s me and not the whole neighborhood) about six medium sized reds

Boil them to a stage that they are cooked, but not mashable, then drain them and rinse them with cold water.

Add the following ingredients, measurements are entirely up to you:

Chopped celery, leaves and all, at least three stalks, including the center stalks if it’s the last part of the celery and you just want to get rid of it

Chopped onion, about half a whole onion and I like the red Bermudas for their flavor.  I’m also kind of partial to green onions, partly for their flavor and partly for the color they add to the bowl.

Chopped zucchini, if you can get the smaller sized, otherwise, take a more mature zuke about 8 inches long, nick off both ends, cut into quarters and chop into slices from there.

Bell peppers, if you have the colored (mature) peppers, because they add great flavor and color to the salad. Reds and oranges do well in this. Cut them into quarters, then chop into small (one inch) chunks. Just make sure you get all the seeds off the pepper’s interior before you toss the chunks into the bowl.

Red radishes: about half of a one-pound bag with the radishes cleaned up and trimmed and quartered, should do it.

Mayonnaise: real mayonnaise, not salad dressing, is the key to a good bowl of potato salad. That globby stuff politely referred to as “salad dressing” is just not the real thing, in my view.  Mayonnaise works best, especially when you add it to this mix of veggies. And mustard? Well, I’ve found a Dijon mustard mixed with chopped dill which works quite nicely, and Dijon mustard by itself is tangy enough to make your mouth happy, but some people just prefer the bright yellow vinegar scent of “salad” mustard from French’s.  Whatever you choose, don’t be shy about the quantity. It peps up the flavor considerably without being overpowering. You can also throw in salt, pepper, celery salt, celery or mustard seeds, maybe some dried parsley – in short, whatever makes it even better than that plain stuff in the cooler at the grocery store. Fresh is always best!

That’s it. Give it a good stir, cover it for a few hours of settling during a brief respite while you prepare the table and the other things (like cold sliced ham) you were planning to present.

Category: Cooking, Economy

Comments (11)

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  1. 5th/77th FA says:

    They called me “Tater Salad” a long time before Ron White stole the title and got paid to use it. Where’s my gratuity check?

    There’s as many tater salad recipes out there as Carter has little liver pills (and NO not Jimmuh Carhtah). And none of them are wrong. And I’ve never met a tater salad I didn’t eat…’specially when you had some good cold sliced ham…or fried chicken…or orasted beef beast. Fresh home grown ‘maters, and yes, Real Mayonnaise…Dukes is the best Even that “German Potato Salad” or the Frenchie version was right tasty.

    Skins left on, a few baby gerchans chopped up with some boiled boiled eggs, and crumbled up bacon is always a nice twist. Picnic basket or table serving, let’s eat!

    Tanks M’Lady

  2. ninja says:

    Thank You again, Ex, for another fantastic recipe.

    So happy to see Red Potatoes being used.

    What a refreshing side dish (and for some, a meal) to consume in this hot, humid weather.


    • Ex-PH2 says:

      If you add shredded chicken or cut up ham to it, then it is definitely a complete meal by itself. I know that a lot of people add chopped hardboiled eggs, but I don’t care for that. It’s an option, however, and yes, then it becomes a complete meal in itself.
      And you only need a chilly dessert to follow it.

  3. Graybeard says:

    With all the okra coming on, I made a big ol’ pot of gumbo (with tips from my Favorite-Son-in-Law) that turned out pretty good for a first-time try.

    And yes, it did taste better the 2nd day.

    Have 3-4 more meals worth in the freezer to help Mrs. GB not have to think about “what’s for supper?”

  4. gitarcarver says:

    I’ll see your potato salad and raise you German Potato Salad……

    ,,,,,,for those who like to cook under pressure.

    Instant Pot German Potato Salad


    6 strips uncooked bacon, chopped
    1/2 cup chicken broth
    1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
    1 sweet onion, chopped
    1 1/2 pounds small golden potatoes
    ground black pepper
    parsley for garnish


    Cooked chopped bacon on saute mode in Instant Pot. Cook until crisp. Turn off pot and pour bacon on paper towel lined plate to drain grease.
    Add chopped onion into Instant Pot and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add bacon back into pot. Place potatoes in pot.
    In a bowl, stir together mustard, sugar, vinegar and broth. Pour over potatoes, bacon and onion in Instant Pot.
    Close and lock the lid. Turn vent to sealing. Manually pressure cook on high for 6 minutes.
    Do a quick release of pressure. Pour potatoes into serving dish and top with fresh chopped parsley.

    (Certainly you can add peppers if’fn ya want.)

    The key difference here is the time. This entire recipe take 16 minutes to make – and just 6 minutes of cooking time.

    However, if you want to go with a regular potato salad under pressure, go here:

  5. Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH B Woodman says:

    I got to liking German senf mustard in potato salads while stationed in (where else?) Germany.
    Not easy to find, and a bit pricey, last time I went looking (mumble) years ago. But now that I’ve reminded myself, I may have to go look again.

    • gitarcarver says:

      If you’re bored, or want to tailor the mustard to your tastes (hotter, sweeter, spicier, etc.,) make your own German mustard.

      Here is but one recipe found online:

      Doesn’t look that hard.

      We go through homemade horseradish around here like you cannot believe. The taste is so much better than store bought to the point where we grow our own horseradish root. (The spread makes a great Christmas gift too.)

      When all else fails, make your own anything.

  6. AW1Ed says:

    Thanks Ex!
    Not about to get into a tater-salad war with granny (or whomever). Just a few observations.

    1. Yukon Golds are great- I don’t even bother to peel ’em.
    2. REAL mayo, please. A good store bought is fine, but if you make it yourself you will just be disappointed in whatever comes out of a jar. It’s easy, too.*
    3. Celery is not an option. If it lack the crunch it’s just not tater salad.
    4. I like brown mustard to yellow, YMMV.
    5. Most importantly, be sparing with the dressing and let the veg shine on their own.

    *Home Made Mayo
    You’ll Need:
    -2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
    -2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
    -1 cup of neutral flavored oil like canola or grapeseed
    -A pinch of fine grain sea salt

    You’ll Do:
    1) Separate the eggs. Save the egg whites for another purpose (like meringue) and place the egg yolks in a small bowl with high sides.

    2) Pour the fresh lemon juice into the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk them well mix.

    3) Slowly, a few drops at a time, pour the oil into the bowl while whisking constantly. Once the mayonnaise has started to thicken, pour the oil in a slow and steady stream. If the oil starts to build up at all, stop pouring and whisk the mayonnaise briskly until the oil has incorporated.

    4) If the mayonnaise thickens too much, thin it with enough water to get the consistency you want, about a teaspoon at a time.

    5) Once all the oil has been mixed in, the mayonnaise should be thick and fluffy and at the ribbon stage. Season with fine grain sea salt.

    Let rest a bit prior to serving. It should be fine for three days, covered in the reefer.
    But it won’t last that long.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      “…covered in the reefer.” Boy that’ll add a nice kick to the salad. And I can see why it wouldn’t last that long. Be giving you a case of the munchies. Better have some ice cream and brownies on hand. Smoke Tater Salad?

      Full disclosure. Going out the old Lewis & Clark Walkabout Trail Missouri Hwy 41(?) you cross over Big Tater Creek that flows into and forms Roach Lake.