Nothing says summer and comfort food all in one bite like potato salad. My mom makes great potato salad. We ate it a lot growing up (and still do, when we go home to visit). I never get tired of it. There are so many things you can do with potato salad. This one is a classic that’s been tweaked a bit… In a good way.
For me, classic means hard boiled eggs, potatoes, and a creamy sauce. There might be something crunchy in there too – celery, pickles, red onions, bacon…
I didn’t vary on the eggs. Hard boiled goodness. I know there are many schools of thought on the perfect way to boil an egg. I do it one of two ways: I bring some water to a boil, add about 1 t white vinegar (so the whites seize up if the shell cracks), then either boil for 15 minutes, or turn the heat off and cover and let them stand for 15 minutes. Recently we watched an episode of Good Eats and Alton Brown did the turn off the heat method, so I tried it. It worked. The other way does too (the way my mom taught me).
I strayed a bit with the potatoes. Only a bit though. I added some parsnips. I almost added turnips… Maybe next time. But, parsnips, try them if you want to be a little bit creative, but not too. They look like the potatoes (you know, in case anyone is picky about color), and they only taste a tiny bit different. I mean, I know they’re in there and I hardly notice them.
The creamy dressing for my potato salad is usually a combination of yogurt and mayo. This time, I had some homemade mayo on hand (made with Burroughs Family Farm eggs). Since you’re not really supposed to keep homemade mayo around for too long, this was the perfect way to use it up. I also added some plain yogurt, and olive oil (just because I love the taste). There’s some garlic, herbs, and paprika. Salt, pepper, and dijon mustard. I don’t know if I’ve ever followed a potato salad recipe other than my mom’s, so I don’t know how far from normal I’ve gone. I also don’t care all that much. Because Tim thought it tasted great and so did I.
It’s really a four-step dish. Steam potatoes (then cool). Cook eggs so that the perfectly golden yolks are firm. Whisk dressing. Assemble. And then, usually I stand there “making sure it tastes ok”, which means eating about half of it before it goes into the fridge. It’s one of my favorite things to eat. I take after my mom.
This was great on its own. It was fabulous topped with some chopped walnuts and tomatoes. But, I really couldn’t pick a way that I preferred it. So, if you want it to be more classic, leave the toppings off. If you want to spice things up, add them. If you add them you’re also adding more protein (walnuts), and a healthy fruit (tomato – yes, it’s technically a fruit).
It’s best eaten outdoors, while barbecuing, surrounded by loved ones. But, can also be enjoyed for breakfast (ask my mom), lunch, or dinner, with sandwiches, other salads, burgers, grilled meats and veggies, or just on its own.
- 2 1/4 lbs (about 8 medium) potatoes, cubed
- 1/2 lb. (about 2 medium) parsnips (optional, can use all potatoes), cubed
- 1/2 to 3/4 C mayo (homemade if you have it)
- 3/4 to 1 C plain yogurt
- 1-2 T dijon mustard
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1/2 to 1 hot pepper (optional), ribs and seeds removed, minced
- 1 t paprika
- 1 t fresh thyme (or 1/2 t dried)
- 2 T white vinegar
- to taste salt
- to taste pepper
- 2-4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
- 1 C tomatoes, chopped, for topping
- 1/2 C walnuts, chopped, for topping
- 2 T combo of any or all: chives, parsley, or basil, chopped, for topping
- Heat a large pot with about 1 1/2" water at the bottom. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes and parsnips to a steamer basket and add to the pot. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until they're tender. Cool completely.
- Whisk together mayo through pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Toss vegges with dressing. Fold in eggs. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Refrigerate for an hour or serve immediately.
- Serve topped with tomatoes, walnuts, and herbs, or just on its own.