Sunday, September 30, 2012

Potato Salad

Serves 4-6

8 -10 small to medium, unpeeled Red Bliss Potatoes, cleaned and cubed.
¼ C chopped sweet onion (Vidalia, Purple onion work well)
¼ C diced celery
¼ C diced green pepper (optional)
½ C Italian Salad Dressing
½ C green olives (optional)

Boil cubed potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain in a colander.
Place potatoes immediately in large bowl.
Add chopped vegetables.
Add salad dressing, as the warm potatoes will soak up more of the oil and vinegar flavors.
Mix in the green olives or save them for later (place them around the edge as a garnish).

This is a wonderful salad to bring to a potluck picnic. It is just unusual enough to make a “stand-out” statement, while fitting in well with the Americana summer potluck theme. Pack in the cooler with plenty of ice packs. The colder this is when served, the better.

GARNISHES: This potato salad is great surrounded or topped with rings of red pepper, radishes, cooked snap peas (cooled), carrot slices or curls, sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, or whatever vegetable sounds or looks good. Even deviled eggs would be a nice addition placed around the potato salad. There are no limits of embellishments.

HELPFUL HINT: When cooling the potato salad spread the salad to the top edge of the bowl so that the the thickness is evenly dispersed. Cover with plastic wrap. Fill a zip lock back with ice cubes in and place in the center. Place bowl in refrigerator. It will cool down more quickly than leaving the salad in a thick layer in the bowl. There is nothing like a really cold potato salad for a summer picnic.

NOTES: I first made this potato salad when I was on vacation in New Hampshire. I cannot honestly remember if I'd run out of mayonnaise, or if I just felt like doing potato salad a different way. I do remember that I thought I had added way too much oil and vinegar, but the response I received from my family was across the board positive. All my aunts are wonderful cooks. I knew it was a success when one of them raved about this salad.

One of the nicest features of the potato salad is that the potatoes are continually soaking up a marinade – no chance of mayonnaise or eggs growing little microscopic green things that could put one or more picnickers in the hospital. I have become ultra-aware of how very easy it is to get food poisoning. All it takes is one bite of something that has been out in the warm weather a little too long, or perhaps never got the chance to cool down in the center.

On a happier note, this salad will not only keep for a few days, it will taste even better as the ingredients soak up more of the marinade.

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