Every family seems to have what I call "not really" recipes. This is the title I give to recipes that are made without written directions or proportions. This is the way our great-great grandmother's cooked. They judged the success of the recipe by taste and smell, adding what was needed until it tasted just right. Even today, some cooks make some recipes this way, going by appearance and taste rather than written information.
My mother has always made some of the best potato salad anywhere. Yet, as much as I've watched her make it over the years, she's never had an actual written recipe. She has always made it by memory and never has written her technique down. Sometime ago, I came across a potato salad recipe that, much to my surprise, tasted almost exactly like what my mother makes. I was amazed how close it came to what she's made for many years and now, I have written proportions!
"My Mom's Potato Salad" is what I've named this recipe and I'm now passing it along to you. This recipe requires, for the best flavor, to make it at least 24 hours ahead. Of course, you don't have to do this step, but I've found that the flavors are best when made ahead like this. Also, when you make it, it will taste salty while it's warm, but won't be once it's chilled.
What's interesting about this recipe is that you cook the potatoes in their skins first, then chill them whole. Once chilled, you peel and dice them, and proceed with the recipe. This is very handy to have when you want to make this ahead of time and get it out the way.
This recipe contains much of the common seasoning ingredients you put in potato salad: mayonnaise, vinegar, dry mustard, celery seeds, sweet pickle relish, salt and pepper. It also has green pepper, hard-cooked eggs and chopped onion to add to the flavor. With grilling season here, this will be a treat to have with the many meats and vegetables you'll be preparing!
Earlier this year, I shared a recipe for a fruit version of this salad called "24-Hour Salad". This is one that you also make ahead and chill. If you missed the recipe, here's the link to it:
Enjoy this old-fashioned favorite and feel free to pass it along....my mother certainly won't mind!
MY MOM'S POTATO SALAD
- 2 lbs. potatoes
- 4 hard-cooked eggs, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
- 1 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 6 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
Make this 24 hours ahead and let chill so flavors can blend. It will taste salty while warm but will not be too salty when chilled.
Cook the whole potatoes in salted water until they test done. Drain and place in a covered container. Refrigerate until chilled. Peel and dice in small cubes. Add the eggs, onion and green pepper and mix. Combine the remaining ingredients to make the dressing and add to the potato mixture. Mix well. Cover and chill at least 24 hours before serving. Yield: 8-10 servings.