Tuesday, June 30, 2009

167. Old-Fashioned Potato Salad (p. 148)

My sister-in-law makes the best potato salad in the world. I'm serious. It's death-row-last-meal good. The potatoes are tender but not mushy. The vegetables (carrots, celery, green peppers, and onion) are crisp and sweet. The layer of sliced hard-boiled eggs on top is sunny and bright. And, most important, the mayonnaise ratio is exactly right. No family cookout is complete without her perfect potato salad.

I had great expectations for this recipe. Maybe I set my hopes too high, because it just didn't measure up to my sister-in-law's potato salad.

First, I peeled a couple of pounds of Yukon gold potatoes and cut them into one-inch pieces. I boiled them for a while until they were tender but not too soft. I'll admit that I cut a corner here. The Book says to cook the potatoes "in their jackets," and peel and cut them after they've cooled a bit. I usually try to follow The Book's instructions exactly, even if I think that they're fussy or a waste of time. But the day I made this recipe, I was a bit overwhelmed. I attempted to make six recipes from The Book for the same meal, and as lunchtime came and went with food still not on the table, I had to compromise. The Book says that its cooking method results in a better texture. But in my opinion, the texture of the potatoes was not the problem with this salad.

After the potatoes were cooked, I tossed them with some cider vinegar and salt. Next I added some chopped celery, white onion and a cup of mayonnaise. I topped it off with some sliced hard boiled eggs.

This potato salad could have been good. The potatoes, even though I didn't cook them the way The Book wanted me to, were good. The eggs gave it a nice richness. The celery gave it a nice crunch. The white onions (which are a lot milder than yellow or red onions) gave it a nice sweetness and bite. But, there was way too much mayonnaise in this salad. It was swimming in the stuff. The next time I make this salad, I'm going to use about half as much mayonnaise, and I'm going to add more vegetables, like carrots and green peppers.

Date Cooked: June 13, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: B-

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