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Memorial Day weekend is upon us; the unofficial start to summer!  You know what this means?  BBQ Season!  I love BBQ.  I love meat, I love veggies, I love sweets and I LOVE potato salad.

I had my first BBQ of the season last weekend and decided to try my hand at this classic.  My friend Jen (of the recent baby shower)’s mother-in-law makes a killer potato salad so I hounded her for the recipe until she finally gave in. 

I think one of the reasons I like her salad so much is its simplicity.  A few ingredients working together in perfect harmony.  Nothing fancy, nothing you can’t find at 7-11 if you have a last-minute potato salad emergency. I, of course, made some tweaks, and I expect you to make it your own as well (although I don’t know why the red bell pepper is in the picture, I didn’t use it for this recipe…)

In the end I kicked up the mustard and pickle flavors and subbed out parsley for dill.

I also peeled the potatoes and just used regular baking potatoes.  I know you can be fancy and use red potatoes or fingerlings, but this is a classic potato salad.  I will make fancy ones further down the road of summer, i’m sure. 

You can keep the skin on if you really want to, but it only takes a few extra second to run a peeler over it to get the bulk of the skin off.  It doesn’t have to be perfect and people aren’t biting into tough potato skins.

There are so many ways to boil eggs out there, and they all guarantee a perfect yolk.  I didn’t need my yolks perfect, just cooked. So I boiled ’em like my mom does, and her mother before her. 

One way to really ruin a potato salad is to undercook the potatoes.  I don’t like my potatoes to have any bite left in them.  I want them pliant and yielding.

The other way is to use the evil that is Miracle Whip.  I have another name for this detestable concoction of chemicals (say that 3x fast), but this is a family friendly site and i’m trying to be good.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet I have very stong opinions about certain foods.  Anyone who knows me can attest.  I may, in fact, have very strong opinions about everything that I don’t mind sharing at the slightest bit of an opening. Or when there’s a full moon.  But that’s not important.

What is important is that you make this potato salad and do a happy dance in the middle of your kitchen when you take a bite and realize it’s finally summer!

Classic Potato Salad

This is for a large serving, this fed about 20 people.  If you need less just cut everything in half.

Ingredients:

  • 8 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes or bite-sized pieces
  • 10 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 1 large jar of mayonnaise (the real stuff, not the chemical understudy)
  • 1 squeeze bottle of yellow mustard
  • A jar of dill pickles and some of the pickle juice (I used a medium jar, with about 10 pickles in it, finely diced)
  • 1 tbsp. ground mustard (if you have it, not necessary)
  • Dash of Cayenne Pepper (again, optional)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Place eggs in a medium pot and cover with water, a good 2 inches above the eggs.  Turn on heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce and let simmer for 6 minutes.  Remove from heat, and run cold water into the pot until the eggs are cool to the touch.  Let sit to dry and finish cooling.
  2. Peel and cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  In a large pot add potatoes and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Cook until the potato is completely tender to the bite, about 30 minutes.  Better to over-cook than under-cook.
  3. Let potatoes cool.
  4. In the meantime, dice your pickles pretty small, you want the pieces to meld.  Put the pickles in the bottom of a large bowl. 
  5. Peel the eggs and put the yolks into the large bowl.  Dice the egg whites and add to the bowl.
  6. Put roughly 2 cups mayonnaise, 1 cup mustard and 1/3 cup pickle juice into the bowl.  Mash up the yolks and get everything stirred together. (You will need to add more mayo and mustard, and probably pickle juice.  But wait until you add it to the potatoes.)
  7. Add in the ground mustard and a dash of cayenne pepper.  Mix it all and taste.  If you need more of the cayenne pepper or dried mustard, put it in now.
  8. Add in the cooled potatoes.  Stir to combine.  This will take arm power.
  9. Let it sit for a few minutes (this step is option, I just like to let it rest before I taste it)
  10. Add in any additional wet ingredients you may need.  Stir and taste. 
  11. Once you get it to the consistency and flavor you like put it in your serving bowl.  Wrap and place in fridge up to overnight to let the flavors meld.  (Again, optional step.  I just threw it in for 30 minutes while I got ready and went to the BBQ)
  12. Taste and do any last-minute adjustments. 
  13. Sprinkle some paprika and parsley on top before serving.
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