Ah, the noble potato. In my family, this humble tuber was held in high regard. Well, maybe not my mom so much, but my dad, it’s like mana from heaven.
It’s due in part to his Aunt Julie. My dad was one of eight kids, and my grandmother relied on some family members to help her keep things humming in the household. One of them was Aunt Julie, who never messed up an entree according to his memory. Aunt Julie was – and is – his gold standard for good food.
A number of years ago, preparing for a trip to the cabin, I looked up a recipe for potato salad. This one seemed simple enough, and easy to prepare in a place where you may not have every cooking tool at your disposal. My mom wanted to make it, though, and I wasn’t about to refuse her!
I heard a bit of grumbling and mumbling while she toiled in the kitchen. By the time she had the batch chilling in the refrigerator, she was ready to burn that recipe. But then my father sampled a bit (quality control, you know). And declared, “this tastes just like my Aunt Julie’s potato salad.” And so my mother hung on to that recipe…
Our CSA has been abundant in potatoes lately, which gave me the excuse I needed to look up the recipe again. Off we went to the computer, where I found the recipe that originally appeared in the June 2002 issue of Gourmet Magazine. And it’s every bit as good as I remember.
Old Fashioned Potato Salad
- 2 lb equal size boiling potatoes
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped white onion
- 3 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise or boiled dressing
Cover potatoes with salted cold water by about 2 inches in a 3-quart saucepan and simmer uncovered until just tender, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain in a colander and cool slightly.
While the potatoes are simmering, whisk together vinegar and salt in a large bowl until salt is dissolved.
When potatoes are just cool enough to handle, peel (this part will seem tedious and dark. Epithets, and even a few expletives, may escape your lips. This is perfectly normal) and cut into 1-inch pieces, adding to vinegar mixture as cut, and toss gently with a rubber spatula to combine. Let cool to room temperature, then add remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste and stir gently to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Makes 6 servings.