Last weekend I made the First Potato Salad of the Season. Now I realize that one can have potato salad year round – it’s nearly always available in its ready made incarnation at just about any grocery store. But for me, potato salad just says summer. And in my opinion, it is one of the best things about summer. I’m not much for some of the other things about summer – the heat and humidity that settles like a soggy blanket on the middle section of the country for the duration, the chiggers that make sitting on the lawn – heck, even just walking across the lawn – a game of Russian Roulette as to whether or not you will be spending the next ten days in a torment of itching and scratching. But potato salad now, that is a fine, fine thing about summer. I am the first to admit that I am extremely picky about my potato salad. As a matter of fact, there is only one potato salad that I like and it is mine. The secret to a fine potato salad is the dressing and then you can put just about anything you want into it and it will taste good. I grew up with the following potato salad dressing recipe adorning my potato salad and it forever spoiled me for any other. The original recipe came from my paternal grandmother. I don’t know where she got it. My mother (whose relationship with her mother-in-law was strained at best) once said in an effort to be diplomatic, “Granny brought two good things into my life. Stanley (my father and her husband) and her potato salad dressing recipe.” She brought some other good things into my life (she was a better grandmother than mother-in-law) but I have to concur with Mom – Daddy and her potato salad dressing were her crowning achievements.
Have a glorious summer and may the chiggers leave you alone!
Potato Salad Dressing
2 eggs, lightly beaten until combined
5 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 cups mayonnaise
Put the first four ingredients into the top of a double boiler – whisk together to blend. Cook over a simmer until thick. Cool. Add the mayonnaise.
Now, you may ask, what else? Myself I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes – “cooked and skunt” as my mother used to say. Chop them into bite size pieces. I don’t know exactly how many I use – maybe 2 1/2 lbs? I just add to the dressing until it looks right – you want each potato piece to have a nice thick glaze of dressing. I put them in while they’re still a little warm so they can absorb the flavors. Then I chop up a bunch of sweet pickles – I like the little baby sweet gherkins. A couple of ribs of celery chopped up fine. A bit of finely chopped onion (so as not to get a big honking piece of onion in your bite of potato salad unless you like that sort of thing.) A couple or three or four chopped up hard boiled eggs. I use the lesser amount of mayonnaise in the dressing recipe – I like the stronger flavor. This will need salt and pepper to taste after assembling.