Thursday, July 5, 2012

Best Ever Potato Salad Recipe + Naturally Gluten Free

Hope everyone had a great July 4th Holiday with family and friends.  We had a wonderful little break in our weather and enjoyed a cloudy day with temperatures only in the 90's. The kids swam, Promise learned to do flips in the water and is working on her diving.  Tyler is finally putting his whole head under water, such achievements! Burgers, fruit salad and my Dad's famous potato salad made the day just perfect.. 

I say famous because everyone loves it and he was always asked to bring it to any function he was invited to. After he passed away, I must have tried a dozen times to recreate it, as he never wrote down the recipe.  One day I just tried to keep it simple and just used basic ingredients that I remembered tasting in his salad.  That's it!  I was just trying to make it all complicated, and it really wasn't. That's when I discovered that most of the time, simpler is just better, and also easier to make gluten free.

He made this all summer for any occasion, and sometimes in the winter just to cheer himself up.  Now, I am from the South, so this is mustard and egg potato salad, not the bland, white, no name versions you find in most grocery stores.  And because it is made from scratch, it is naturally gluten free.  I say this because you choose your ingredients, so make them gluten free.

Also, please remember, I am NOT a food photographer!  I took these pictures as I was preparing this dish, no help, and no staging. So if they aren't very pretty, sorry, they are really just to show the steps.

I use gold potatoes in my salad just because I love the taste.  A little buttery, and they hold up well, I don't like mushy bites of potato in my salad.  I cut them up into small bite-size chunks, trying to make them pretty consistent in size, so they all boil up about the same.  Put lots of salt in the water (about a tablespoon) and let it come to a boil before adding the potatoes ( I use a strainer to lower them into the water to prevent splashing). 

As soon as they come back to a boil, lower the heat to medium and prop a lid on the pot, so the steam can still escape (to prevent a boil over).  Let them cook just until they are "fork tender".  This means that they are not mushy, but just tender enough for a fork to stay in them without falling apart.  Take them off the heat and pour immediately into a strainer.  Place under cold running water to stop the cooking process.  Let these drain well.

While the potatoes are cooking, place your eggs in a small pot with cold water covering them.  Turn the heat on high and as soon as they start to boil, start timing them.  Exactly twelve minutes later, remove them from the heat and put the pan under cold running water to stop the cooking process.  As soon as they are cool enough to touch, you can peel and chop them up.  No specifics here, if you like big chunks or small ones, just do it your way.

Chop up the onion and the celery and place in a large bowl with the potatoes, eggs, mayonnaise (I use half Miracle Whip and half Best Foods), mustard (I use French's regular, but you can add Dijon, or something more bold if you like), salt and pepper to taste. I also add pickle relish, or in this case, I added a few sweet midget pickles and some pickle juice.

Now just gently fold it all together, don't get too aggressive because you don't want to make mashed potatoes!  Taste it and adjust the salt, pepper, and relish if needed.

Find a nice bowl to put it in, and sprinkle the top with a little sweet paprika. This salad is best if prepared at least a few hours ahead and left to chill in the fridge. It gets better overnight.

That's it.  Every time I make this, I think of my Dad, and miss him so much.  He never measured anything, just tasted as he went, and knew exactly what to add and when.  Cooking like that just takes lots of time, practice, and making the same wonderful recipes over and over again. 

This list makes a big bowl of potato salad, I didn't measure it, but if I had to guess, about 8 cups.

6 medium size Yukon Gold or other potato of your choice
6 large eggs
1 cup mayonnaise of your choice
2 tablespoons mustard of your choice
3 stalks celery
1/2 sweet onion
1/4 - 1/2 cup pickle relish OR 3 small pickles with 1/4 cup juice
salt and pepper to taste

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