My First Time Making Red-Skinned Potato Salad
Making potato salad without using a recipe
Making potato salad is an undertaking I never previously considered until recently. It always seemed like a lot more work than I ever have time for and therefore, I haven't made it before. I enjoy eating it and even purchase it periodically from the grocery store where I work.
I don't know what it was recently that got me to thinking of making it in the near future. Maybe because I have been coming up with my own recipes for making different types of foods which I will be sharing in future hubs.
At the grocery store where I work I'm a cashier, and I ask a lot of customers what they are doing with different foods they purchase. One of the customers a month ago or so was purchasing several bags of potatoes and he shared with me something he does when making his potato salad.
He said that he cuts the potatoes before cooking them and that he likes doing it that way better because he feels it's faster and easier. Since talking to him I've wanted to try making potato salad in that manner. Maybe thinking about preparing it that way is what really got me to want to try it.
Why I decided to use red-skinned potatoes
When I told my husband that I wanted to make potato salad one day he told me that he knows how to make it. I thought that was interesting, since he never offered to make it in the twenty-five years that we've been married. I didn't want to have him make it because I wanted to see if I could manage it, and I'm the one that has been thinking of making it for a while.
He said that if I was serious about making potato salad that I should use red-skinned potatoes because they had the best flavor.
Why I chose to peel some of the potatoes but not all of them
When my husband suggested that I use red-skinned potatoes I told him that I wouldn't be peeling them at all. He wasn't happy about that because he peels every vegetable that he eats except for things like asparagus or other obvious foods.
When I began to prepare the potatoes I decided to peel most of them to make my husband happy and for those I chose the larger potatoes in the bag. For the smaller potatoes I decided to keep the skins intact.
How Do You Like Your Potatoes Prepared?
Do Prefer the Skins On or Off?
Large and Small Red-Skinned Potatoes
Use a Vegetable Brush to Clean Vegetables That Won't be Peeled
I began the preparations by washing the ones I wouldn't be peeling with a vegetable brush. Since I would be peeling the larger potatoes I chose not to wash them now as they would be washed after the peels were gone to remove any bits of peeling that was still on the vegetable.
Ready to be Cleaned
Ready With Both Large and Small Potatoes
After scrubbing the smaller potatoes I began to slice them on my cutting board. It wasn't the easiest task in the world, but not impossible either. I wasn't worried about making the pieces uniform. If a person is going for that look an actual slicer might work better.
I didn't want to clean mine or remember how to put it together, so I chose to cut them by hand. It didn't take an extremely long time, although it was a bit more time consuming than I anticipated. Certainly, more involvement is needed than making macaroni salad, which we make all the time.
Cleaned Potatoes Ready to be Sliced
Red-Skinned Potatoes with Skins Intact
Slicing the Potatoes Before Cooking
First I began by slicing and cubing the potatoes before cooking as my customer said he does. I did keep my eye out for anything that needed to be trimmed off. Although I didn't have to worry about burning my hands or fingers since I was slicing them prior to cooking them, it was still a bit difficult because the pieces kept sliding around on the cutting board.
After I cut all the smaller potatoes and kept the skins on them, I then began to peel all the larger potatoes. When I was done I then sliced all of them in the same manner.
I was tired after standing all day at work, so I decided to cook up what I had and do the remaining amount the way that most people make them by cooking them first and then cutting them.
I sliced all the ones up that were on the cutting board, put them into my stock-pot, filled it with hot water, put it onto the stove to wait for it to boil and took a break at my computer for a short time. I knew that it wouldn't take very long for them to cook since I cut them so small. I didn't want it to turn to mush.
Which Method of Preparation Do You Prefer?
Do You Slice Your Potatoes Before Cooking or After?
Cooking Red-Skinned Potatoes
Check Cooking Potatoes Often for Done-ness
If you ever decide to slice your potatoes before cooking them you can cut them a bit larger than I did and than what is shown in these pictures. Also, you want to make sure you check the progress of them cooking often enough. I didn't think of writing down how long it took, so sorry for that. If I make it this way again, I will be sure to do so and edit this hub with that information, or if any of you give this a try you can let me know.
Once they can be pierced with a fork but before they fall apart when doing so, (you may want to test a piece by putting it into your mouth after blowing away some of the heat), you can take them off the burner and begin to rinse them with cold water.
I rarely use a strainer to drain water out of pans. I generally just use the lids and I've been doing it this way for so long that I am quite good at it, but I wouldn't recommend it when using a stock-pot as I accidentally dropped some of my potatoes down the sink.
Cooking Potatoes First, Then Slicing Them
Since I already planned on cooking some potatoes up the old-fashioned way, the way that most people expect them to be done I decided that I needed to do some extra to replace what I just lost. This is why it took most of the five pound bag, otherwise, I wouldn't have needed quite so many. Cooking time for these would be what it is for cooking hot potatoes for supper.
I peeled the larger potatoes and scrubbed the smaller ones just as I did earlier, but this time I cut the larger potatoes in half or sometimes fourths if they were larger yet, and I pierced with a fork the small potatoes, like I would if cooking potatoes for mashing.
Once they were cooked, I rinsed them with cold water and this time I got out the strainer to make sure all the extra water was gone. I then soaked them in cold water so I could begin to cut them. I will say that the second batch of potatoes looked rather lumpy after I cut them. But, once everything is all mixed in the bowl you really can't tell the difference between the two.
I was trying to get them completed and into the refrigerator before my husband returned from work, so I forgot to take more pictures of the finished product of cutting them after cooking.
Once they cooled down for a while, we worked together to cut the celery and onion and slice up the eggs to mix with the miracle whip salad dressing (our preference). Because I had help, I forgot to write down and measure the ingredients.
Red-Skinned Potato Salad, Completed
Mixture of Skinned and Peeled Red-Skinned Potatoes
As you can see there is a mixture of skinned and peeled red-skinned potatoes. You can't tell which ones were sliced before cooking and which were sliced after cooking and when it's all mixed together and on your plate there are no distinguishing features either.
If I choose to make potato salad again, I think I would cook them and then slice them. I believe it was less time-consuming.
We did discover that it tastes like it's missing something. Possibly we could have put in a few more eggs, or celery or onions. My husband thinks it's missing a spice, like maybe oregano. I've never heard of oregano in potato salad, but I suppose anything is possible. My sister-in-law makes it; I will have to ask her later this summer what she puts into hers.
Picture of the Ingredients
- Less than a 5lb bag Red-skinned potatoes, Diced
- Six -quantity optional Hard-boiled eggs, Sliced small
- 1 Cup or more Celery, Diced
- 1/2 Cup or so onion, diced
- Start with 1/2 cup and add as needed Mayo or Miracle Whip Salad dressing
What Was Missing With the Finished Product?
When we first ate my potato salad made without looking or using a recipe, we felt that it was missing something. If I make it again, and I very well might as I still have some potatoes left I will probably add several more eggs, celery and onions along with some seasoning.
When I told friends what I made and how it tasted, many offered their additions. Some said to add some pickle juice, but to lessen the amount of mayo when doing so. Also, enough mustard or white vinegar to give it a kick will help. The mustard will also give it a bit of color.
How much of each ingredient each cook uses would be dependent upon the size of the crowd eating it or the size of the bowl holding the finished salad.
Potato Salad with Cucumber
Making Potato Salad with Cucumber
Once I came across this version of potato salad, I decided I wanted to give this a try also since we enjoy eating a lot of cucumbers. I made a smaller amount of potatoes so I didn't use a whole cucumber, but about 3/4ths of one. I also used celery, regular onion which I have on hand. I put in six eggs, a small bit of vinegar and mustard, but no sugar.
I do like it, it is very tasty this way. Thanks to Sylvia Ellie for the hub and suggestions.