Potato Salad

Is there anybody out there who doesn’t love potato salad?  I defy you to find that person.  If you do, they may provide the proof we’ve been looking for that life exists on other planets.

Potato salad is a thing of beauty.  It satisfies our hunger for carbs, starch, and textural gooeyness.  Even the most refined potato salads (those dressed with champagne vinaigrettes and snippets of chervil, in the French mode) are appealing, if only because they signify a casualness and less formal approach to dining.  After all, you will probably see the likes of a baked potato, roasted potatoes, french fries, or potatoes lyonnaise on a steak house menu, but you sure as heck won’t see potato salad.

One of the joys of potato salad is that it lasts.  This is amusing, since it usually tastes so good that it’s gone before you know it.  However, the fact that it does last (for at least a week in an appropriately chilled fridge) makes any effort put forth in its creation more than amply rewarded. 

In the early years of my marriage I acquired Lee Bailey’s California Wine Country Cooking.  This cookbook, which features menus and recipes with wine pairings from different California vineyards, still holds up against today’s slicker publications.  The photography is exquisite, the recipes are delicious, and you can actually learn a great deal about food and wine.  It is from this enticing ensemble of recipes that I have culled Quivira Vineyard’s red bliss potato salad.  This is my standard potato salad, and for good reason.  First, there is no need to peel the potatoes.  I consider this an enormous plus.  Second, the taste reflects the bounty of summer – fresh basil, fresh parsley, and a non-cloying mixture of seasonings, mayo and sour cream. 

Red Bliss Potato Salad

2½ lbs. red potatoes

1 T. lemon juice

½ c. sour cream

½ c. mayonnaise

¼ c. fresh basil

¼ c. Italian flat leaf parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

2 T. white wine vinegar

1 t. Worcestershire sauce

½ t. Dijon mustard

pepper, to taste

salt, to taste

 1.  Cook potatoes until tender.  Remove from water and let cool until for at least 10 minutes.  Cut potatoes into bite-sized chunks.

2.  Cut basil into chiffonade.  To do this remove basil leaves from stems.  Take about 5-6 leaves and stack on top of each other.  Roll leaves up and then slice into thin slivers.

3.  Remove parsley leaves from stems.  Chop finely.

4. Combine all ingredients.  Refrigerate.

Notes:         Double the recipe for a party.  I prefer using baby red bliss potatoes, but large red potatoes are acceptable.  I add more basil and Italian flat leaf parsley than called for in the recipe. I serve the potato salad on a flat serving plate surrounded by grape tomatoes with a sprig of basil in the center.

So go ahead, double the amount you make, grill a juicy burger, and load up on the carbs.  It’s the 4th of July weekend, and what better way to celebrate.  Spuds unite!

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5 Responses to Potato Salad

  1. Karen Lynch-Schirra says:

    Hold the presses and stop looking for proof of life on another planet–’cause I’m the proof. While I do not hate all potato salads, I do not love this side dish, although many people could make an entire meal of it.

    When at a sit-down dinner or buffet, potato salad is the last thing that I would even possibly think about taking maybe a tablespoon of with my meal, and that is only to be polite. Now, the potato salads, that aren’t necessarily drenched with cups of mayonaise and sour cream, I do prefer. So, Oysterdiva, the ones that you would make, I would probably prefer.

    Give me the cole slaw, not lost in tons of slaw dressing, or a good tossed salad and I’m a happy diner.

    Please let me know if I might have company on my planet, as it often gets lonely here. 😉

  2. susan says:

    Ellen, I did not enjoy potato salad until my thirties!!! I do not like ALL potato salads either (ie-German not a fan). My Aunt Sharon has a wonderful recipe with the red potatoes and no mayo involved. Dijon mustard & maybe olive oil substitute. Different spin, but it can withstand staying out a summer picnic or party outside for many hours without spoiling. If your interested I will get it for you.

  3. I will give you one for a French potato salad with fresh herbs and a vinaigrette dressing. You are high maintenance!

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