Tuesday, June 29, 2010

53/101 | Da's Potato Salad

If you were to ask me my favourite food, I might say steak or burgers... but I'd be lying. My real favourite food is the lowly potato. J'ADORE LE SPUD! I love potatoes mashed, french fried, boiled, scalloped, baked, roasted... any way will do. If you take me to a fancy steak dinner, I might ooh and ahh about the steak, but what I'm really looking forward to is my big side order of frites. When I go for buffet with my in-laws, I casually sneak over to the kid's section for a few fries with gravy (I know, I'm not eating my money's worth but fries are what I like!). If I say I want Greek food, what I'm really craving are those roast potatoes that nobody likes. When I order clam chowder, I'm secretly hoping for more potatoes than clams. You get the point. It's that bad.

Vince and I recently had a BBQ with his family for Father's Day. I carefully selected some frozen bison burgers for the grill - I wasn't too hungry and that was the only thing I really felt like eating. Patrick and Vince spent some time cooking tons of chicken, burgers, sausages, longanisa, and steak. When they were finished grilling, we all headed up to the condo to eat. The table was set, the wine was poured, and then a big bowl of homemade potato salad was plunked right in front of me. MMMMMM, I said, as I finally felt my stomach start to grumble. I put a big scoop on my plate and had a bite - it was the best potato salad ever! Simple, classic, and not overdone. I've tried a few potato salad recipes in the past - they never turned out well so I had pretty much given up. I was forever destined to eat potato salad, but never cook it.

That night, a glimmer of hope started bubbling up within me as I shyly looked up with my mouth full of potatoes and asked my father-in-law, "Da, d-d-d-did you make this?" He was surprised that I took such an interest in the potato salad. I started naming some ingredients and he replied with four magic words: "potatoes, eggs, mayonnaise, mustard" and that was it. No measurements, ratios, quantities... just four ingredients. That was my recipe. The next day, when Vince and I went for our weekly grocery run, I carefully picked out 5 large white potatoes that would form the basis for my recipe. For the next 5 days, I planned out the recipe in my head and set out to create my perfectly delicious potato salad.

Da's Potato Salad - Recipe 1 of 30 in my 101 in 1001

5 white potatoes, cubed (I didn't even peel them - I can be a really lazy cook at times)
4 large hard boiled eggs
1 cup half-fat mayonnaise
3 generous heaping teaspoons mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1. First, I boiled the potatoes until fork tender. I boiled the eggs at the same time - 12 minutes for perfectly hard boiled eggs - and it was about 3 minutes later that the potatoes were ready.

2. I dunked the eggs in cold water for a little while before peeling them.

3. After peeling, I threw all the eggs into a bowl and just mashed them apart with a fork (again, lazy).

4. I drained the potatoes, tossed them into the bowl with the eggs, and seasoned with salt.

5. Then I added 1/3 cup of mayonnaise and 1 heaping teaspoon of mustard. This is where you can go crazy in the recipe. I happened to have Kozlik's horseradish mustard and grainy creole mustard in my fridge. I didn't want to go too spicy so I picked the creole. I love the texture of the mustard as it contains whole mustard seeds but you can use whatever mustard you like. My father-in-law used classic yellow mustard (e.g. French's) and that was really yummy too.

6. I mixed everything together until I could gauge the consistency - if too dry, I added another 1/3 cup of mayonnaise and 1 heaping teaspoon of mustard. By the time I was happy with the consistency, I had used about 1 cup of mayonnaise and 3 heaping teaspoons of mustard. Use more or less to your liking.

7. Finally, I tasted my creation and topped it off with some freshly ground peppercorns (adjust the seasoning here, if necessary). I gave everything one more good mix before scooping a sizable mound of potato salad onto my plate. I only managed to take four photos before having to put the camera down in favour of the fork.

Have a good potato recipe to share? Please post a link!

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