Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pioneer Woman's Potato Salad

It's approaching midnight here, I've got a bit more energy to give and I can't think of a better thing to do than think on potato salad. Who doesn't like potato salad? Anyone? I suppose there are those weird people out there who don't like mayonnaise or things that are creamy. I've never understood these types of folks. You know, those people who say, "I just really don't care for cheese of any kind." Or even worse, they casually murmur, "I'm not really a sweets person..." I guess truth be told, sometimes I wish I was one of those people, my waistline would thank me. But then I'd be one of those people and I hardly know which one is worse! But if you can stomach mayonnaise and like potatoes then I think we can both agree that potato salad can be wonderful. It should be wonderful. Of course it isn't always. Potato salad really must be homemade. It should also be made by someone who cares for it with passion. Anyone can throw together a potato salad, but the right person makes it great. I've decided to be one of those people.

I came across the Pioneer Woman's blog quite some time ago while on the quest for a fantastic homemade ranch dressing recipe. I guess it was quite fitting to find a killer ranch recipe on the Pioneer Woman's site. Pioneers, ranch... they go together, yeah? It was a killer recipe and I along with thousands and thousands of others frequent her site regularly. She does it all. Home schools, cooks, makes art, etc. And she makes it all look incredible. She's pretty much the pioneer of Awesome. She's super mom and wonder woman.

When I saw a potato salad she featured here I was sold. I liked this recipe for a couple of reasons. For one, you put the potatoes through a ricer or food mill. We all know that most potato salads call for one to cook the potatoes perfectly in order to keep their shape when cubed and be cooked through but not mushy. It's a bit of a balancing act! So to have a recipe deliberately turn the potatoes to a fine mash was intriguing to say the least. Also, it's just a really basic recipe. Mayonnaise, pickles, boiled eggs, scallions, mustard. That's practically it. It's a purists salad. The thing with potato salads is that most of them are truly pretty similar. They just are. To make one really unique and have it stand out, I think you have to consider adding some interesting ingredients. Caramelized onions (which I've done), olives, yogurt, bleu cheese, red pepper flakes, celery, bacon, or dill. The list really could go on and on. A bit like I'm doing! This is a good salad. Hands down. I like the creamy texture and simplicity. It's straight forward and classic. If you want something fancier play around with some of those other ingredients. I think some fresh parsley would be nice here. And you simply must sprinkle in some good old fashioned white sugar. Before I go, I'd love to hear some of your most beloved go-to Potato Salad recipes...

Classic Potato Salad
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

5 pounds russet potatoes (about 8 medium russets)
1 1/2 cups real mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
4-5 tablespoons prepared mustard (regular, Dijon, or a mixture of both)
5 green onions, sliced up to the darkest green part
8 small sweet pickles (or dill if you prefer)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 T. sugar
4 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
Fresh dill or parsley

Cut potatoes in halves or thirds, then boil until fork tender. Drain.
Mash potatoes or run them through a ricer or food mill to make them extra fluffy.
Fold potatoes together with mayonnaise, mustard, green onions, salt, pepper, and other seasonings you like. Fold in pickles and eggs, then taste for seasonings, adding more salt, mustard, or mayo as needed. You may also splash in juice from the pickle jar if salad needs a little moisture.

Enjoy, friends! And get to me about your favorite versions! That's an order! : )


missmallory said...

You know what? I always have been tad ashamed because I prefer my potato salad in a mashed state (shhh don't tell, very few people know) and it drives my guy crazy. This recipe looks fabulous, and gives me a perfect excuse to make 'mashed' potato salad.

RachelleLouise said...

Mallory darling, isn't is just crazy that this recipe asks you to put the potatoes through a ricer!!! I've never seen or heard of this. I thought it was pretty wild. I really liked it despite thinking it needed a little more of things. It's just a really straight up version. I think creating a little more depth of flavor would only benefit the dish. It's a great canvas. I hear you though, I like them creamy too. I really don't like those al dente type versions. Your secret is safe with me! Do you have a favorite go to? I love seeing what people adore.