Old-fashioned American Potato Salad

I know, summer is almost over. You don’t have to tell me. But we have one more holiday weekend, which means we can have one more barbecue, which means we can make one more potato salad. Hooray!

This is my absolute favorite potato salad recipe. It tastes much like the beloved Southern-style potato salad my grandma used to make, complete with hard-boiled eggs. Yet it is very amenable to adaptations, depending on what you have on hand to throw into it. (Bacon is always a good choice.) I think the essential ingredient that makes it so tasty is the vinegar. The warm potatoes are tossed with the vinegar before being dressed, so they have some time to absorb its flavor. This gives the salad a tang that contrasts nicely with the creamy mayonnaise dressing.

The original recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated‘s The New Best Recipe, but as I say, it is a classic and belongs in your recipe notebook. Feel free to substitute freely.

American Potato Salad

From The New Best Recipe. Yields 4-6 servings.

  • 2 pounds red potatoes (about 6 medium or 18 small), scrubbed
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice, or 2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 medium celery rib, minced (about ½ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • ¼ cup sweet pickles, minced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley leaves

Cover the potatoes with 1 inch water in a large pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring once or twice, until the potatoes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes for medium potatoes or 15 to 20 minutes for small potatoes.

Drain; cool the potatoes slightly and peel if you like (I rarely bother). Cut the potatoes into cubes while still warm.

In a large bowl, add the potatoes, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and toss gently. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 20 minutes.

Toss the potatoes with the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

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2 thoughts on “Old-fashioned American Potato Salad

  1. pat turlington 4 September 2010 at 5:08 pm

    This was very delicious. I agree about the vinegar. I personally love bacon in this receipe.

  2. […] Old-fashioned American Potato Salad (simplycooking.wordpress.com) […]

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