I have never really been a die hard potato salad fan. Mostly cause they just aren't seasoned well, or there is way to much mayo. I of course am not claiming to be an expert since I rarely build this starchy salad.
I ventured into this classic BBQ side salad last week. I spent a good chunk of time looking into recipes, reading a few articles and fearing bland potatoes. I came across Serious Eats. a wonderful site full of knowledge and an awesome blog. check them out at www.seriouseats.com
What blew my mind was this experiment they did with potatoes and green food dye. They used the dye and several methods to see what would penetrate the potato the best. The dye would act as seasoning for the experiment. I know we all hate bland potatoes, so what is it? At what point is the best to season your potatoes? The three methods experimented with were seasoning the water, seasoning while hot and seasoning once cooled. The winner?.........................
Season the water of course! Just like pasta, but not just with salt. Salt is only a portion of the seasoning. Add vinegar and sugar. about 2 Tbs of each. This was a total game changer, I could eat a whole bowl full of what looked like plain potatoes.
So what is this recipe I ended up with? Classic Potato Salad by Serious eats, With a few tweaks of course!
- 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar, divided
- 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, divided
- 3 ribs celery, finely diced (about 1 cup) leaves included
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 4 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup, optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, washed and minced (optional)
- 1/4 cup dill pickle relish
- 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
- Fresh ground black pepper
1. Add 2 quarts water to large saucepan. Add potatoes, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Spread into even layer, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons vinegar. Allow to cool to room temperature, about thirty minutes.
2. Combine remaining sugar, remaining vinegar, celery, onion, scallion (if using), parsley (if using), pickles, mustard, and mayonnaise in large bowl. Stir with rubber spatula to combine. Fold in potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and rest in fridge for at least 1 hour and up to three days before serving.
You can find the potato experiment here along with the original recipe. Enjoy!