Nothing better as part of a casual lunch or at a picnic (assuming, of course, you manage to keep it cool!), and, like lasagna or chili, every cook swears her own is the best. Fortunately for you, in my case it happens to be true, and I’m willing to share my secrets! One of these is boiling the potatoes whole. Now, I realize this is controversial (or, as controversial as little old taters get), but while some claim that boiling whole leads to uneven cooking, I have never found this to be an issue. Boiling them whole and in their skins helps preserve flavor and nutrients (although, with a dish like potato salad, nutrition is not really the primary concern!), and lends a smoother, almost creamy consistency. I also love to combine the softer potato with lots of crunchy bits in the form of celery and bell pepper. Growing up every family get-together boasted two versions of potato salad: with onions and without. The “with” had fairly large bites of raw, white or yellow onion in it, while the “without” had no onion flavor whatever. I compromise by adding scallions and chives and omitting the sinus-clearing bites from my youth. In general I prefer my food mouth-watering to eye-watering!
- 5 lbs russet potatoes, uniform size
- Six eggs, hard boiled
- 2 celery stalks, washed and chopped into small pieces (include leaves)
- Small or Medium Bell Pepper, washed, seeded and chopped into small pieces
- Bunch scallions, washed, ends and tips removed, chopped into small pieces (leave as much white as possible)
- ¼ Cup Pimento
- 2 Tblsp chives, washed and snipped finely
- 2 Tblsp Fresh Dill, washed and snipped finely
- 2 Tblsp Fresh Italian Parsley, washed and snipped finely
- 1 ½ cup Sandwich Spread or Salad Dressing (Not the salad kind, the mayo substitute kind!)
- ¼ Cup Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp Paprika, plus a pinch more for the top
- 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
- ½ tsp Celery Seed
- Pinch Nutmeg, freshly grated
- Pinch Black Pepper, freshly grated
- Pinch White Pepper, freshly grated
- Sea Salt
- Scrub Potatoes and cut off any obvious bad spots. Place in boiling water, generously salted (at least 1 tsp salt per quart of water). Boil until done but not mushy. Cooking time varies with the size of potatoes. Small ones will take 20-25 minutes, large will take 40-50.
- Drain and allow to cool. Pull peels off and chop, discarding any bad spots.
- Chop four of the eggs and add to the potatoes, along with the celery, pepper, scallions, pimento and fresh herbs. Stir to combine well.
- In a separate bowl, mix together sandwich spread, mustard, paprika, poultry seasoning, celery seed, nutmeg, black and white pepper and salt to taste. Add this mixture to vegetables and mix, coating evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Slice the two remaining eggs and lay on top decoratively. Sprinkle top with paprika
This in one of those dishes that is even better the second day, or at least made several hours in advance to allow the potatoes to absorb the flavors. If you find there is not enough coating the salad when it comes time to serve, stir together a couple tablespoons of milk or cream with another ¼ - ½ cup or so of salad dressing and mix in well.