March 8, 2011

Potluck Pleaser

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Margaret's Morsels | Potato Salad

Last week, I posted a morselette about a shortcut I took the last time I made potato salad.  If you missed it, instead of cooking potatoes, I substituted a 24 ounce package of Ore-Ida Steam 'n Mash cut Russet potatoes.  Since the potatoes are already diced, all I had to do was add the rest of the ingredients after the potatoes were cooked.  Today, I thought I'd talk about potato salad and share my mother's recipe for this dish.

Margaret's Morsels | Potato Salad

There's two widely known versions of potato salad.  There's the one I consider traditional which uses mayonnaise or sour cream as a dressing and is served cold.  The other version, German Potato Salad, is served hot.  It's made with potatoes, bacon, onion, celery and green pepper. Instead of mayonnaise or sour cream, it has a dressing made from bacon drippings, vinegar and sugar.  Italian Potato Salad isn't as well known, but it includes a variety of vegetables and seasonings not usually found in the other versions.

The first thing to remember when you make potato salad is to use the right type of potato.  Potatoes that are low starch/high moisture, such as boiling, blue, purple and new, are ideal for potato salad because they retain their shape.  It's also important to make sure you add enough salt to the water when boiling the potatoes.  To me, adding salt after the potato salad is assembled is not as effective as adding enough salt at the beginning of the cooking process.

Once the potatoes are cooked and drained comes the fun part:  putting it all together.  The additions to potato salad are limitless.  It all comes down to what you like and what your family will eat.  If you use an ingredient that's in a liquid, make sure you drain it well; you don't want soupy potato salad.

My mother's recipe is plain compared to a lot of recipes, but we love it.  It only uses boiled eggs, dill relish, mayonnaise and pimentos.  The recipe can easily be doubled which is what I do when I serve it at holiday family dinners.

Margaret's Morsels | Potato Salad

Although I try to substitute healthier alternatives whenever possible, this is one time I stick with the original.  I don't like the taste of fat-free or light mayonnaise so I always use real mayonnaise.  If you like fat-free or light mayonnaise or sour cream, you can use it instead of regular.  Keep in mind that potatoes absorb more dressing when they're hot so you need to be ready to combine the ingredients as soon as the potatoes are cooked and drained.  I make the potato salad a day ahead of time so the flavors have time to blend.

Potato Salad is always popular at potluck dinners and picnics.  If you make a batch with mayonnaise or sour cream, make sure to keep the potato salad in a cooler or refrigerator until you're ready to eat.  If you want to dress up the potato salad, garnish it with chopped parsley, scallions or paprika right before serving.

The Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash potatoes are Russet potatoes which are best for mashing, baking and frying.  However, they were a good substitute in the potato salad.  In fact, my husband didn't even notice a difference until I pointed it out to him.  Would I use the shortcut again?  Absolutely. Sometimes there's more important things to do than peel, dice and cook a pot of potatoes.

Potato Salad
4 to 6 Servings

1 1/2 lb. potatoes
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup dill relish, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup diced pimentos, drained

Peel potatoes and dice into cubes roughly the same size so they cook evenly.  Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water and add salt. Bring water to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook potatoes uncovered 10 to 20 minutes or until fork-tender.  Drain potatoes.  Combine potatoes with remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate until serving.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

© Margaret's Morsels


  1. I have now made this twice. LOVE using the frozen potatoes. So much more simple than pealing and chopping. Love the flavor too - but just had to brag on simple.

  2. I'm glad you like the recipe! It elevates mashed potatoes to a whole new level. I love using the Ore Ida Steam n' Mash potatoes. It's so much easier -- and faster -- than peeling and cooking potatoes on the stove top.