I am in a wicked rut when it comes to writing. I apologize. It’s because I am also not cooking much these days, with birthday dinners out and holiday barbecues away from home (meaning I am not doing much of the cooking, just lots of eating) accounting for a good portion of recent dinners. I’ve been busy with a new project I am *very* excited about and prepping fruit or making jam 3-4 nights a week. Also, it’s been 65 in Seattle and 95 in most of the rest of the country; my instincts tell me that many of you are not interested in a zucchini casserole or a roasted peppers dish… though I can’t promise you won’t see them eventually. Today, determined to share a recipe, I thought about what would be quick, universal and seasonally appropriate and decided to write about potato salad. There are few dishes more representative of summer.
It astonishes me how many familial and regional variations there are to a relatively simple food. Potatoes are red or new or fingerling or blue. (I like to eat them on a bowl, I like to eat them with a mole… Sorry. My Suessing is over.) My Mom puts dill weed in her salad, which I love, but I’ve never encountered anywhere else. I’ve had potato salad with celery, pickles, onions, bacon, basil, hot sauce or mustard (often a combination of these ingredients) used as flavor- and texture-enhancers. Sometimes, I raid the herb garden and use fresh dill, cilantro or tarragon to add interest to my salad, but most often I like to make it the way I learned from my aunt, with no bells or whistles, just potato, mayonnaise and some seasoning. It’s been called plain, it’s been called simple, and you can call it what you want, but I call it good. But… this recipe is not for my version, it’s for my husband’s favorite, and that’s one with a good measure of hard-boiled eggs thrown in. It’s like having potato salad and egg salad in the same bowl, and it’s delicious. If you know that the weather later in the week will be too hot for cooking, boil your potatoes and eggs ahead; they can be left whole, cooked, in the fridge for a day or two. Once you prepare the salad, it gets even better with time, whether as leftovers or served the next day. And if it is so hot that you don’t have the energy/desire to cook anything else, well, eggs have a good amount of protein, so slice a tomato as a side, call this dinner and be done.
Potato Salad with Hard-Boiled Egg (serves 6-8 as a side)
- 6 medium red potatoes
- 1/4 – 1/3 c. mayonnaise
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. Dijon (or similar) mustard
- 3 hard-boiled eggs
Fill a large pot with cool water; add your potatoes and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. When your potatoes reach the boiling point, lower the heat to medium-high (maintain the boil) and cook for 30-35 mins., until a fork or sharp knife pierces the largest potato with no resistance. Drain and cool completely, overnight if necessary; the potatoes are much easier to work with cold.
When you’re ready to make the salad, cut the potatoes into 1″ cubes and put them in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise (use the larger amount for a creamier result), salt, pepper, cayenne if using, vinegar and mustard. Pour the dressing over your potatoes and mix thoroughly, tasting and adjusting seasonings if necessary. Peel the eggs and cut them in half end to end, as though making deviled eggs, then in half again lengthwise, then each quarter into three pieces; you want the egg to be in bite-size chunks but not so small they get pulverized. Add the egg to your salad and toss gently to mix. Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days.