There is something nostalgic about a picnic – its familiar watermelon and potato salad, cold lemonade and perhaps a cold roast chicken or an ever so slightly soggy sandwich. There are thousands of great potato salad recipes out there, but for the potato salad purists, this classic version is as familiar as you get – potatoes and boiled eggs sauced with mayo, spiked with vinegar and celery seed, with the traditional celery and cornichons for crunch.
And here’s an easy trick to peel all those potatoes!
This American classic comes from Martha’s American Food: A Celebration of Our Nation’s Most Treasured Dishes, from Coast to Coast by Martha Stewart, who is herself as American as, well, potato salad.
Part of the charm of a picnic is its informality, whether you are in a sunny glade or right in your own backyard. No matter where you are, you want something to eat that isn’t difficult to make, that travels well, and that tastes—and looks— great some hours after it’s prepared. Sandwiches made with thick, crusty bread fit the bill nicely, as does cold fried chicken. But what people tend to indulge in most are the sides. “I can’t remember the last time I had homemade coleslaw!” someone will say.
“I need your recipe for three bean salad,” someone else will ask. “It’s the best I’ve ever had.” (Chalk one up for its distinctive mustardy dressing.) The only quiet one in the bunch, you will notice, is on his third helping of potato salad.
Martha Stewart’s Classic Potato Salad
4 pounds russet potatoes (about 8 medium)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 large eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
10 cornichons, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with water by several inches. Bring to a boil, then add 1 tablespoon salt. Reduce heat and gently boil until potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 25 minutes. Drain.
Peel potatoes while still hot, using paper towels to protect hands; cut into 1-inch pieces. Transfer potatoes to a bowl and drizzle with vinegar; let cool.
2. Place eggs in a small saucepan; fill with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil; turn off heat. Cover; let stand 11 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cold water; let cool and peel. Cut 2 eggs into 1/4-inch dice. Slice remaining egg into 1/4- inch- thick rounds; reserve for garnish.
3. Combine diced eggs, mayonnaise, celery seeds, and dry mustard in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper, and whisk to combine. Stir in potatoes, celery, onion, cornichons, scallions, and parsley. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day. Just before serving, garnish with paprika and egg rounds.
SERVES 10 to 12
Copyright © 2012 by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Photograph Copyright © 2012 by Romulo Yanes.