Potato salad is such an interesting dish. When you think about potatoes normally the first images that would come to mind would be some sort of hot potato dish: mashed potatoes, loaded baked potatoes, twice baked potatoes, etc. All of these are items that need to be eaten warm, but then you have potato salad. A cold potato dish. Quite honestly, it took me a really long time to be brave enough to try potato salad because of this. I have always loved potatoes but would pass on the potato salad at every family get-together because it disturbed me that it wasn’t a warm dish. It wasn’t until high school when my mom had just finished making it that I decided to try it. I had just come home from a two hour morning swim practice, and like most teenagers that have just exercised, I was BEYOND starving. I would have eaten anything in that house, and it just so happened that potato salad was the dish in front of me. Needless to say, I fell in love. I felt so dumb for missing out on something so great for so long.
However, even though I can admit that potato salad is a delicious dish, certain versions are definitely superior to others. Some people make their potato salad on the sweet side. Some make it with spicy brown mustard, some with dijon mustard, and others with plain yellow mustard. There are literally so many different ways to make this dish that no two recipes are exactly alike. I have tried a lot of different potato salad recipes, but each time I would make it, I would feel like something was not quite how I wanted it. After numerous efforts of trial and error I believe I have finally found the combination of ingredients that works great together. I have tried this with different mustard types, different seasonings, and different amounts of sugar and salt, but after my last round of creating, I have found the perfect combination of flavors to make a delicious deviled egg potato salad.
3 Large Potatoes – peeled, cut into ½ inch chunks, boiled, and cooled
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
4 tbsp Diced Red Bell Pepper
½ heaping cup Light Mayo
2 tbsp Milk
2 tsp Yellow Mustard
½ tsp Onion Powder
1 ½ tsp Sugar
¾ tsp Dried Dill Weed
1 tsp Salt
⅛ tsp Cayenne Pepper
⅛ tsp Black Pepper
Potato salad is a dish that requires some preparation ahead of time. You cannot just start throwing ingredients together and hope to have it done in half an hour. In fact, this is easiest if you know you are making it the night before. I say this, because I have found that boiled eggs are easier to peel and handle when they have been boiled and sat in the refrigerator overnight. Of course, you can boil your eggs the same day you make the salad, I simply prefer to prepare them the night before.
The first step to making potato salad is prepping your potatoes. Either use 3 large potatoes or 6 small ones. Typically I can only find small potatoes in my area, so I usually go that route. Peel and wash your potatoes, then start chopping them up. I prefer to have smaller bite-sized chunks of potatoes in my salad, so I opt to chop them into ½ inch squares. This also helps them to boil faster.
After the potatoes are chopped, pour them into a kettle of boiling water. The goal is to boil them until they are soft enough to be done, but not so soft that they would end up mashing when you stir them into your sauce. Typically, boiling them for 13-14 minutes is ideal.
While the potatoes are boiling, dice up a red bell pepper. Then during the last four minutes of the boiling process, dump four tbsp of red bell pepper into the water. By only boiling the pepper chunks for 4 minutes you will slightly soften them up while still leaving a slight crunchy texture. Many people skip the “crunch factor” when making potato salad, but I have found that having an element of crunchiness here or there can add a texture to the salad that elevates it to the next level. Bell peppers are a good choice for this because they also add in a light flavor to the dish without it being overwhelming.
Next, strain the water out of the potato and pepper mixture and leave the strainer to cool for half an hour. While the potatoes are cooling you can take the opportunity to work on your sauce and eggs.
Start by peeling and chopping your eggs up. Here’s the part that makes this into deviled egg potato salad instead of regular potato salad. I like to chop the eggs up pretty small so that the yolk is in extra tiny pieces. Just like deviled eggs have their yolks creamed with other ingredients, I prefer to let the yolk cream with the sauce instead of having large pieces of the yolk present themselves throughout the salad. It’s okay if the egg white has some larger pieces after being chopped, but your goal should be to chop up the yolks nice and fine.
When making the sauce you will want to start with your liquid ingredients and use a separate smaller bowl than what you intend your finished salad to be in. Mix the heaping ½ cup of mayo with the yellow mustard and milk. I’ve attached a picture of my definition of a heaping ½ cup for you since heaping isn’t actually a measurable term.
After the liquid ingredients are mixed together add in your seasoning and whisk it all together. When you finish this, check the clock. If it has not been half an hour from the time you strained your potatoes, leave the kitchen and finish this recipe when the half hour is up. If you do not wait the entire half hour, your potatoes could still have some warmth to them. If you try to stir your sauce in with warm potatoes, you will be disappointed in the result, because warm potatoes soak up sauce instead of mixing with it to get a coating on them.
After your half hour has passed, mix your sauce, eggs, and potatoes together. Make sure you are mixing this in a new bowl though because you DO NOT want to dump all the sauce in at once. This recipe makes up a little bit of extra sauce, and there is a reason for this. Sometimes when you come back to potato salad after it has sat in the fridge overnight some of the sauce will have soaked into the other ingredients. This will leave you with a dish that is less saucy than desired. By making up more sauce than what is needed right away, you can always add more in the next day if it needs more.
When mixing, add in half the batch of sauce first. Once that is stirred together, add in two large spoonfuls at a time until you are happy with the consistency of the salad. This level of consistency could be different for each person making the dish. Personally, I like mine to be extra creamy, but that is another nice factor of having extra sauce to experiment with. You can always add more in if you aren’t happy with the original amount that you put in. It can be really tempting to dig into this bowl of deliciousness right away, but save yourself and refrigerate it for at least two hours before diving in. I promise it tastes 100 times tastier when it is served chilled. I hope you get a chance to try this dish and enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed the process of trying to perfect it!