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RetroJoe's Far Out Potato Salad
What do You think?
This is a recipe based on my first big effort at making potato salad for at least three dozen people at a work potluck 20 years ago. I melded two recipes from two different sources into one and modified it a bit so it better fit what I wanted to try and do and the result got rave reviews. I've cut the ingredients down to 33% of what it was so it will serve a minimum of a dozen people.
When I first made my best potato salad ever, there was no canola oil based Best Foods/Hellmann's mayonnaise on the market; instead I used either Safeway's brand (that used canola oil) or Saffola mayonnaise (which is safflower oil based).
The hard boiled eggs should not be over boiled, but not gooey either (aim for somewhere between the two). If anybody who will be partaking of the salad wants to avoid too many eggs, you may wish to cut the hard boiled eggs into slices and place them on top of the finished product along with the black olives so people who want to can avoid them.
Boiling the potatoes should be done with care; better to have them almost done rather than over done (aim for the former rather than 'done'). Remember that they will continue to cook a bit after removal from the boiling water since they take a long time to cool down.
The pickles used here, Bubbies' Pure Kosher Dills, are not found in your typical supermarket. They can be located in such stores as Whole Foods or New Seasons Market. They are based in northern California and have been around for 30 years.
The marinade, Bernstein's Italian, is my favorite salad dressing and is actually their regular Italian rather than the Restaurant Recipe Italian. This dressing/marinade has been produced for more than 100 years, having its roots in a New York delicatessen and now produced in the Pacific Northwest (where I currently reside). Coincidentally I have my roots in New York as well.
The cheese in this recipe, Tillamook Medium Cheddar, is also from a company that has been around for over 100 years and based in northwest Oregon (not far from where I currently live). For anyone who is avoiding regular rennet cheese, the cheese in this recipe uses a vegetable based rennet.
- The main ingredient will amount to 2.5 to 3 pounds or 6 large sized or 8 medium "Golden Yukon" potatoes. After thoroughly cleaning, they should be boiled with the skin on for 24-33 minutes (may be a few minutes less if a gas stove is used). Test the smallest potato with a fork after 24 minutes to see if almost done (fork slides in with not too much resistance). Remove each potato with a large serving spoon from the smallest size to the largest as they become done and leave in a separate bowl. When all the potatoes are removed, allow them to cool for about 30 minutes. After that they can be separated and allowed to cool another 30 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, peel them (if preferred) and cut them into fairly large cubes (just under an inch on each side). Warm (do not overheat) 7 ounces (½ bottle) of Bernstein's Italian dressing and pour over the potatoes (that have been placed into a 6 or 8 quart mixing bowl), blend thoroughly, cover and place in the fridge.
While the potatoes are in the fridge, combine the following ingredients into a smaller mixing bowl. Wash all but the first ingredient then chop the first three into small pieces and finely grate the last:
- 2 medium to large Mezzetta peperoncinis (optional), chopped into small pieces (less the seeds, stems and juice)
- 3/4 cup scallions (also known as green onions), chopped into small pieces (3 or 4 scallions will do)
- 3/4 cup cellery, chopped into small pieces (2 medium stalks)
- 3/4 cup carrots, finely grated (2 small to 1 medium-large size)
Combine the four ingredients above and mix in the following:
- 2 Teaspoons horseradish (prepared, not cream style) (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper (perhaps a tad less if optional spicey items are used)
- Juice of 1/4 lemon
Now prepare the following:
- chop up 3 large hard boiled eggs (optional) or set aside as a garnish on top after
- 3/4 cup Tillamook Medium Cheddar cheese (cut into 1/3 inch cubes)
- 3/4 cup Bubbies Pure Kosher Dills (cut into 1/3 inch cubes)
Combine the above three
(or two if not using the first one) and blend into the rest of the salad (in the small mixing bowl) thoroughly. Leave in the bowl, cover, and put in the fridge. Uncover the potatoes in the larger mixing bowl and thoroughly stir, cover again, and refrigerate both portions of the salad for another 40 minutes. After that thoroughly combine the ingredients in the smaller bowl into the larger bowl with the potatoes and return to the fridge (covered again) for another 40 minutes. After that time mix in 10 to 12 ounces of Best Foods (west coast) or Hellmann's (east coast) Canola Mayonnaise (if salt and/or mustard were left out earlier, they can be blended into the mayonnaise first). Refrigerate another hour and then sprinkle with paprika and place black olives (large, whole, pitted) on top (along with possibly the sliced hard boiled eggs if they were left out of the ingredients earlier).
RetroJoe's Far Out Potato Salad is now ready to serve.. Mangia, mangia! (that's Italian for Eat, eat!) -enjoy!
© 2012 Joseph Ritrovato