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Potato Salad Extraordinaire (fantastic recipe)
Credit Where Due
In looking at the title of this article, I’m sure you’re all wondering, why this potato salad is so extraordinary? Let me start by answering that question. It’s extraordinarily simple to make. It’s extraordinarily easy and quick to do.
Additionally, it’s an extraordinarily healthy alternative for a meal because the ingredients are organic. There’s one more reason...it’s also because of the extraordinary circumstance I went through to really get it right.
Now let me start by saying that this is not totally my recipe. I went to a Christmas party last year (2011), and talked with a wonderful Jamaican lady (Ryan's mom) who had fixed a fantastic potato salad, and asked her how she fixed it. Naturally, I put my own spin on it, but the credit here is mostly hers.
Historical Basis For A Great Potato Salad
Secondly, prior to finding out how she did it, I had never ever made a potato salad in my entire life! This was sort of an odd thing, considering that this was my father’s token dish of fame and notoriety.
He made a big to do about his potato salad, and fixed it for most major party events we attended when I was growing up. I used to see him in different stages of the preparation of it, but I never just sat and watched him do it.
Frankly, I wasn’t all that keen on his potato salad because it had two ingredients that I was not partial to. One of them was celery. I can’t stand celery, and will only eat it if it is so cooked down that I don’t even notice it.
The second ingredient I’m not too sure about. It was some type of seasoning. I want to say celery salt, but I’m not even certain if that exists, let alone how it looks. Whatever it was, (could have been dill seeds), it was round and black, like peppercorns, but considerably smaller.
At any rate, needless to say, I was not that much of a huge fan of potato salad. The one from Publix made with red potatoes was ok in my book, but it was never something that I’d just eat as a whole meal.
Christmas Day Fiasco-Another One Bites The Dust
Mind you, the first time I attempted to make this potato salad, I totally bit the dust on it. The first problem? I trusted my teenaged son to be focused enough to notice if the potatoes boiled down or started to catch in the pot. I made the mistake of leaving the pot boiling on a fairly high flame and went to the bathroom to take a shower.
Without much ado, let me just say that the potatoes not only caught in the bottom of the pot. They burned in the bottom of the pot. I smelled it and came flying out of the bathroom, yelling at my son who was watching cartoons on Christmas Day of 2011, never noticing the smell.
I was upset because not only were my potatoes ruined, but my brand new porcelain pot was a mess too, and in my mind, ruined as well. So that day did not start out well; especially because we had no water from the night before due to a water main break miles away from our house that put us under a boil water order.
I could have fixed it the night before, but I had no water to do so. Therefore, I was trying to hurry and fix it before going to my brother’s for our holiday celebration, and suddenly, I was facing potatoes with a burnt smell and taste in my very first potato salad.
Test Monkey Rating
I quickly pulled out the potatoes that weren’t on the bottom, and hoped for the best, adding most of the other ingredients. My son is my test monkey (don’t tell him I said that) for me on food. He’s a picky eater, and doesn’t like vegetables-in fact; he says I cook too much with them. So for me to get something past him that he really likes is a serious victory.
I had him taste the potato salad. He said it did have a slightly smoky flavor, but that it tasted good. I thought he was just trying to soften the blow. However, he did later eat almost all of the potato salad that was left over.
I walked into my brother’s house telling my family that if they didn’t like it, I would not be offended, because I knew it had a bit of an overcooked taste to it, to say the least. My mom & sister-in-law both said that it had a slightly smoky taste, but that the flavor was good. My brother, however, just came straight out with it...it wasn’t working for him.
Outside of that, the rest of the day went well, and I was later able to gently scrub the burnt mess out of my new pot, so it was saved.
Two days later, I went to the health food store and got more potatoes-red, organic ones. I made another batch of it, this time making sure that I watched the potatoes, and didn’t have the flame too high. It was great! My son & I devoured it in two days, and I had to go buy 2 more bags of potatoes as he demanded more.
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So now that I’ve teased you a bit, I guess I should get on with the ingredients. Her basic ingredients were as follows:
- Potatoes (not sure how much, but I think she said about 5 large potatoes)
- An onion (diced-again, she didn’t specify how much or how large)
- Peas & Corn (these were from a can & again, she didn’t specify the amount)
- 1 stick of butter
- salt to taste
That’s it. So I took those basics and added a bit to it. First of all, I use at least a half a bag of organic red potatoes. It depends on the size of the potatoes and the size of the pot. Add sea salt to the boiling water (few shakes), according to however much you normally would put into a pot of boiling potatoes.
Dice the potatoes into large chunks with the skin on, so make sure you clean them well with a veggie brush, and cut out any little bad spots or blemishes. While the potatoes are boiling, get about a half a clove of garlic, and shred the skin.
In a small pan or corning ware dish, melt the stick of butter in the over, and roast the garlic pegs in it. If you have some fresh parsley on hand, chop it up and put it in the butter garlic mixture. I’d say about a handful is good.
I usually freeze my parsley, so I took it out of the freezer, shook the bag onto the plate, while holding the bunch. Just from that, more than enough of it shook out onto the plate. I didn’t even have to cut any off the bunch.
I don’t recommend the use of a microwave to do this, because it’s not a healthy alternative, but that’s for another article. I’ll just say that it may be quick and easy, but if you knew the end results...you’d think twice about using them. Mine broke, and then I got educated on them prior to purchasing another one; and I thank God for that.
And instead of just a regular onion; which is extremely strong in scent and flavor, use a sweet white onion instead. It is not only sweeter, but it doesn’t leave you scaring the natives with your onion breath-a fact I discovered after my second time making the dish.
Oh, and unless you are making a batch of this to feed an army, you only need about half the onion diced. When the garlic is roasted and soft, take a fork and mash it up entirely, so that you can practically mix it with the butter and parsley, so it just blends in.
After the potatoes are boiled, take them out of the pot and place them into a large mixing bowl. Take two-three eggs and put them into the pot with the water still boiling, and boil them for about 5 minutes. Take them out, cool them in cold water, shuck the shells, and put them into the bowl with the potatoes.
Wash out the pot, and put fresh water in it. If you are using canned peas and corn, make sure that the brand you buy says that the only ingredients are peas, water and salt, or corn, water and salt. You will need a half a can of each. If you are using frozen peas and corn, 1 cup of each should do the trick. Cook them for a few minutes in the pot, with low water; after rinsing them thoroughly (if canned)
While they cook, pour the garlic and butter into the bowl with the potatoes and, using a fork, mash the eggs, and a bit of the potatoes as you stir the butter-garlic-parsley mix in. Add the diced onions and the peas and corn.
Add your favorite mayonnaise, according to the amount you have; just enough to lightly coat the mixture and make mixing a bit easier. For a large bowl, you will need about 2-3 large spoons (serving spoons) of mayo. And there you have it-a fantastic potato salad that you will enjoy eating by itself or with other of your favorite foods.
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