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classic potato salad recipe please!

litlfilly's picture

Can can anyone direct me to a classic summer potato salad recipe?  I'm smoking 4 racks of ribs on Sunday and want to include the potato salad as a side.

Incidentally-if anyone remembers my posts on purchasing a new grill...I bought the Big Char-Griller with the smoke box on the side.  I roasted a bone-in pork roast last weekend with a fresh sage and fennel rub-and it was TDF!  Roasted it for 2 hours-


Maedl's picture

(post #57218, reply #1 of 14)

There are probably a ton of recipes for classic potato salad. What you consider classic depends on what you ate as a child and where you grew up. I grew up in St. Louis and my family was Germany, so our classic salad was warm, sweet-sour, and full of bacon flavor. My grandmother made it the way her mother had made it, and, of course, there was no written recipe. But I watched many times and this past spring, I recreated it and wrote the recipe down when I was invited to a potluck dinner with the theme of "good foods for hard times." I know this is not a recipe for people who have to watch cholesterol, but I enjoy it as an occasional treat in an reasonably planned diet.

I suspect the original style of this salad came from the northeastern border area of the Black Forest--that was my great-grandmother's home.

Frieda’s Warm Potato Salad

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
2 eggs, hard boiled
1 medium onion, chopped (a red onion looks pretty)
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped (reserve a spoonful for garnish)
1 stalk celery, chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper

1 oz. bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbl. all purpose flour
¼ cup vinegar
1 ½ cups water
2 Tbl. sugar
Salt and pepper

Cook the potatoes at a low simmer in their skins until done. They are ready when you can easily poke them with a knife but the skins should not pop open. Remove potatoes from the water and let sit until cool enough to handle. (If you can, use rubber gloves and peel them while they are still very hot. The potatoes will absorb more dressing.)

Simultaneously, cook the eggs. Put the eggs in a small saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and then reduce heat as much as possible. You don’t want to see bubbles coming up from beneath the eggs: just let them bathe peacefully in the hot water for 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, sauté the bacon over medium heat in a heavy frying pan until brown. Remove the bacon from the pan. Don’t even think of throwing out the bacon fat! Add the chopped onions (and a finely chopped clove of garlic wouldn’t hurt, either!) and sauté over medium heat until the onions are meltingly soft and golden. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and stir until the roux turns a deep, rich mahogany. Remove from the heat and add the vinegar and the water, a little at a time. Stir mixture constantly so it doesn’t clump. Return to heat and cook until it bubbles --briskly. Reduce the heat and let it cook gently for three minutes. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Skin and peel potatoes. Remove any eyes. Slice into a large bowl (I use the pot that I boiled the potatoes in and save washing an extra bowl). Peel and slice one of the hard boiled eggs. Add the egg along with the second raw chopped onion and parsley (and celery if you are using it) to the sliced potatoes and season with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Bring the dressing back to a bubbling boil, then spoon it over the potato mixture. Stir gently but well. Taste the potato salad. You can adjust the seasoning at this point. You can add more vinegar or sugar, if you like. If the potatoes absorb too much of the dressing and the salad feels dry, add more boiling water. Peel and crumble the second hard boiled egg.

Transfer the potato salad to a serving bowl and garnish with the second, crumbled egg and the reserved parsley.

Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect
Jean's picture

(post #57218, reply #2 of 14)

Yum. Hot German potato salad. I use more onion and bacon in mine and also throw in some celery seed. Love it!

Cold potato salad for my family includes 3/4" diced potatoes, medium dice celery, onion, and dill pickle, thinly sliced radish for some color. Sliced hardboiled eggs for garnish--I throw the finely chopped white ends into the salad. While the potatoes are still hot I pour a few Tbs of Italian dressing over for them to soak up. When everything is cool I mix some salad mustard in some mayo so that it's nicely colored and dress the salad with that. The family prefers it on the dry side. Top with the sliced eggs and sprinkle on S&P and paprika--or seasoned salt, they like that too. 

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Maedl's picture

(post #57218, reply #3 of 14)

My grandmother used celery seed in her potato salad too, but since I don't use the seed in much else, I hate to get it just for the annual potato salad! And as far as I'm concerned, the more bacon the better. But I know how squeamish some people are about bacon and the schmalz, or bacon fat, so I didn't want to overdo it in the recipe.

I've eaten a lot of potato salad in Germany and none of it even approaches Grandma's. I think the current salads have replaced the fat with broth and vegetable oil, and, of course, you're not going to get the good flavor there. On the other hand, Schmalz with Griebenes is a popular spread for bread here, so I don't know why they don't take it one step further. Geeze, that just brought back a memory from my childhood. After my Grandmother fried bacon and eggs in the iron frying pan, my grandfather and I would take a piece of white bread, wipe it around the pan to sop up the fat and then fry it until it was brown and crisp. Then we'd top it with a few grains of salt. Oh my goodness, that was SO good.

Your potato salad version sounds good--I make a one-dish meal with hot, sliced potatoes, hard boiled egg, green beans, tomatoes, capers, olives, tuna, and olive oil and vinegar, sort of a simplified salade nicoise, I suppose. I feel a tad more virtuous eating that, but it's the bacon-based salad that I always crave and return to. Guess I'm just a pork chop at heart.

Edited 6/19/2008 6:51 am ET by Maedl

Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect
litlfilly's picture

(post #57218, reply #4 of 14)

Excellent.  I'm going to keep the German version for another day, but it looks wonderful.  I too have German roots and Grandmother who cooked her heart out all of the time.

I was planning on the American classic version for Sunday however-so thank you for the recipe(s) everyone!

Nightrider's picture

(post #57218, reply #9 of 14)

FWIW, I absolutely love the Creamy Potato Salad with Radishes, Lemon and Dill from an older FC.  It's just a slight twist on the classic (still very creamy and good), and my DH thinks it's the best potato salad he's ever had.

If you don't have a subscription to the website, let me know and I can post the recipe for you.

litlfilly's picture

(post #57218, reply #10 of 14)

I will look that one up...and yes, I do have a subscription to the website.

Thank you!

Marcia's picture

(post #57218, reply #5 of 14)

I use celery seed in regular potato salad, too. Nobody in my family will touch potato salad except for me - can you imagine? Sometimes I make it for myself - the heck with them!

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #57218, reply #6 of 14)

That looks a lot like the version I make too, just minus the eggs. It's my favorite.

Maedl's picture

(post #57218, reply #7 of 14)

What's the background on it? Is it a family recipe and do you have any idea where it came from?

Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect
CookiM0nster's picture

(post #57218, reply #8 of 14)

Actually I got it out of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, of all places. But I made it a lot when I lived in Germany, and it seemed to pass muster with the natives!

annieqst's picture

(post #57218, reply #11 of 14)

I think Cook's Illustrated did a spread on the classic American Potato salad. Is this the one your were thinking of?

litlfilly's picture

(post #57218, reply #12 of 14)

Yes...that is more closely aligned to what I was looking for.  I also looked at the FC Creamy Potato Salad with Dill and Lemon.  That one looks yummy as well.  Thank you=

mishmish's picture

(post #57218, reply #13 of 14)

In our house the potato salad is very basic but we love it.
Potatoes, hard boiled eggs, dill pickle, onion, mayo, mustard, a bit of pickle juice and s&p.
I like all kinds of potato salads but there is rebellion if any "stuff" makes its way into the bowl so I generally stick to this recipe.

Don't let your mind wander. It's much to small to be out by itself.

Don't let your mind wander. It's much to small to be out by itself.
DJ's picture

(post #57218, reply #14 of 14)

this is a favorite, From Lydie Marshall's  A Passion for Potatoes


American Potato Salad From A Passion for Potatoes, Lydie Marshall's wonderful potato book.
¼ hours | 45 min prep

4 pounds

  • 4 lbs potatoes
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced green peppers
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot paprika

  1. In a large pot or a stockpot, cover the potatoes with a generous amount of cold salted water.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until tender.
  3. Drain and peel the hot potatoes.
  4. Cut into 1 inch cubes.
  5. Mix the vinegar and sugar and then pour over the hot potatoes.
  6. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Set aside for 1 hour.
  8. Toss the celery,green pepper and celery seeds into the potatoes.
  9. Mix in the mayonnaise.
  10. Correct the seasoning.
  11. Decorate the top with the sliced eggs and sprinkle with the papkrika.

Democracy has to be more than two wolves and a sheep deciding on what to have for dinner-James Bovard

Edited 6/20/2008 1:07 pm by DJ

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