Wednesday, June 13, 2012

DIY Potato Salad

I have a confession to make:  I don't care for potato salad.  Tried it numerous times as a child and an adult, but have never found one I liked enough to eat.  That is, until I held DS1's open house in 2007 and made a batch (ok, more like a vat) of it from scratch.  By some stroke of luck, Betty Crocker's potato salad recipe is one I find delicious.  So now I eat my potato salad, but no others!  (Yes, I am rather a food snob that way.)

Giving kudos (and copyrights) to Betty Crocker, this recipe comes from  her 40th Anniversary Edition cookbook, which is probably my all-time favorite cookbook.  Most of my best recipes came from (or started from and then I tweaked) this book.

I quadrupled the recipe for the open house, but here is what Betty gives for a normal sized batch of potato salad:

Potato Salad
2 pounds potatoes (roughly 6 medium, if you don't have a kitchen scale)
1 1/2 cups mayo or salad dressing (I only use real mayo here & think that's what makes the difference between "I like" and "yuck")
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp prepared mustard (ya know, the stuff in the yellow bottle)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 medium stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Peel, wash and cut potatoes into 1/2s or 1/4s depending on size.  Boil until just fork-tender, don't let get so soft they fall apart.  Drain, and cool slightly (chop celery and onions while they cool).  Cut potatoes into cubes. 

In a large bowl, mix mayo, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.  Add potatoes, celery and onion, stir well.  Add chopped eggs and stir again.  Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.  Serves approximately ten 3/4-cup servings. (At open houses though, hardly anyone takes 3/4 cup, so I figure a 4x batch to serve about 70-80 people.)

For the open house, I made the potato salad a day ahead of time so it could chill quite a while (plus, I had a softball tourney to attend early in the day of DD1's party).  The flavor is also better after 24 hours instead of just 4.  I used 8 lb potatoes, 4 1/2 cups mayo, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup mustard, 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 4 cups celery, 2 cups onion, and 16 eggs.  I also used an enormous bowl to mix it in and then divided into 2-3 smaller 'serving' bowls so that I could have just one on the buffet line at a time, with the others staying cold in the fridge so that the potato salad never warmed up to unhealthy temps during the party.  When it is on the buffet line, I take a bowl that is about 2x larger at the base than my serving bowl, put ice in the bottom of it, then set the serving bowl on the ice.  If I had numerous dishes that required icing, I could use a small inflatable swimming pool to hold the ice and all the chilled dishes at once, but DD1 only had 2 items that needed ice.

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