I've been making potato salad for a friend's July 4th picnic for a zillion years now, and until now I haven't come up with a definitive potato salad. But this year, I am going to make my slightly altered version of the Creamy Potato Salad recipe in Jasper White's The Summer Shack Cookbook. It's killer, and I promise if you make it you will be a food hero to whoever you bring it to.
I just replaced the chopped kosher dill pickle he calls for with sweet relish because I like my potato salad a little sweet. Also, because we do love bacon at Serious Eats, I add a little chopped bacon to the salad just before I serve it, to give it just a touch of smokiness. The bacon is most assuredly optional.
White's great recipe has a couple of exceedingly useful tips.
"The trick to making a great creamy potato salad is to cook the potatoes whole, so the outsides are very soft by the time the centers are cooked through but still firm."
He uses distilled vinegar in the potato salad because "the acute sharpness that makes the vinegar undesirable for most dishes, especially vinaigrettes, is what spikes the flavor perfectly in this dish."
He also notes that this potato salad is best made well in advance: "It is really at its best the second day."
White says to use medium-sized, all-purpose (medium-starch) potatoes for this potato salad. I've found that Yukon Golds work best.
- Yield:serves 6
- 4 medium all-purpose potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more to taste
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion (2 to 3 ounces), cut into 1/4~inch dice
- 1 large stalk celery, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
- 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup sweet relish
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- Six slices of crumbled, smoked bacon (optional)
Pour 2 quarts cold water into a 4-quart pot and add 2 tablespoons of the salt. Peel the potatoes one by one, adding them to the pot as you work. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes, depending on their size.
Drain the potatoes in a colander, transfer them to a baking sheet, and let cool until they can be handled.
Cut the potatoes into irregular 1-inch cubes, and place in a large bowl. Add the eggs, onion, celery, scallions, pickle, parsley, mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, and mustard and mix well with a rubber spatula. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Cover with plastic wrap placed flush against the potatoes and chill for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. (The salad keeps for up to 3 days refrigerated.) Check the seasoning before serving, and add salt and pepper to taste if needed. If you're going to add the bacon, now is the time to cook, drain, and crumble six slices. Just before serving, top the potato salad with the crumbled bacon.