I call my Southern-style potato salad, confetti because it’s colorful and tastes like a parade is happening in my mouth! My taste buds are like little cheerleaders marching, screaming with delight and doing cartwheels with every bite! There’s something about the combo of potato chunks, mayo, American mustard, sweet relish and hard boiled eggs that comforts me and makes me feel cozy and loved. Plus, you get a good dose of veggies, so it must be healthy-ish.
The 4th of July screams potato salad, but did I make it this year? No. My host and co-party chair made German potato salad for our Independence Day 2015 barbecue. I shelved this recipe until our Labor Day “End Of Summer” celebration. We threw a small shindig for eighty guests. We had so many people we made two different potato salads because we could!
I’ll admit I felt a twinge of sadness as I prepped this salad. I hate summer so I was not verklempt over the end of the hot, humid weather because I HATE IT. GOOD RIDDANCE! I had a bit of a pang over the tater salad. When you live in a place that has four clear seasons like New York, the end of summer means the end of making potato salad at what some might call a sensible, reasonable time of year. It’s the end of the time when making and eating potato salad with abandon goes unquestioned, unchecked. People might look at you funny if you make potato salad in the dead of winter, but if I ate it every day in the summer, nary an eyelash would flutter.
When the stiff breezes blow and the leaves are long gone from the trees, they might suggest that mashed potatoes or scalloped potatoes would be more appropriate. They might throw out ideas like hasselback or home fried or hash. Boiled ‘em, baked ‘em or broast ‘em, they’d cry. But I’d disagree. I could eat potato salad 365 days of the year. I don’t, but I could (my hips just breathed a sigh of relief). I will make it when it’s cold. I make this potato salad regularly for Christmas Eve dinner along with barbecued chicken. It’s my brother’s birthday. I make his favorite foods because he was pretty much gypped by being born on December 24th. Keep your caviar, your blinis and pheasant under glass. There’s something decadent about eating summer foods in the bitter cold and getting to feel cozy and loved to boot.
I was also a little sadden by the prospect of sharing this salad with such a large group of people. Granted, I made a giant bowl of it, but I didn’t like the thought of the hordes pouncing on it in a gone-in-60-seconds feeding frenzy like a bunch of cartoon buzzards on a celluloid corpse. I may have skimmed a little off the top and hid it for the next day, but I’ll admit to NOTHING!
Potato salad aways tastes best the next day which brings me to a couple of facts you should know about this potato salad.
I may weep about the salad, but this salad doesn’t weep. I hate runny potato salad so I degorge the veggies with salt and drain off the juices and pat them dry before mixing them with the other ingredients. You don’t have to add much more salt to this dish since the salted veggies flavor the rest of the salad.
Oh, I may have said that this recipe makes about twelve servings, but if I’m making it, only six might make it to the table. Half may disappear before I’m even done…
- 3 pounds of whole, red skinned potatoes
- 1 medium red pepper, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced fine
- 1/2 pound string beans, ends trimmed and finely sliced in rounds
- 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, minced
- 6 peeled, hard boiled eggs
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water and cook until they are fork tender, but firm. Drain and cool. Peel the potatoes.
- In a large bowl, mix the red pepper, celery, red onion, carrots, and string beans with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and set aside for at least 1/2 hour. Gently crush the potatoes and eggs with your hand or a fork in a bowl being sure to leave large chunks of potato.
- Drain veggies well, squeeze them in paper towels and add them to the potato mixture. Stir in the parsley, mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and mustard. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Chill thoroughly before serving,
You can add any other vegetables you like. Just be sure to degorge them with the salt treatment so you remove excess water from the salad.