One potato, two potato

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2000

If your potato salad yearns to be a big star, here’s your chance to dress it up.


Pick one dish from the Southern food category that seems to pop up everywhere and yet is taken for granted. My choice would have to be potato salad. It brings to mind the old saying &uot;always a bridesmaid, never a bride.&uot;

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Technically labeled a composed salad, this dish shows up at every Sunday lunch, family reunions, and cook-outs. It accompanies barbecue, fried fish and fried chicken. And yet there are very printed recipes for the dish.

Potato salad recipes, like many old Southern recipes, are mostly handed down form one generation to another, with each generation adding or deleting their on special touch. One truly southern touch to our potato salad is the addition of sweet pickle relish.

Try a new way of serving your potato salad and give this dish the credit it deserves. This first recipe makes use of new potatoes. With the added touch of red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and herbs this will become a big hit at your house.

New Potato Salad

Serves 8 to 10

3 pounds new potatoes

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 teaspoon basil

1/4 cup parsley

3 boiled eggs, chopped

Dressing ingredients

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 cloves minced garlic

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or red wine

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Boil potatoes (do not peel) and drain. Watch them carefully; do not let them become mushy. You want them to be cooked just until tender. While the potatoes are cooling, make the dressing.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together and set aside. Cut the potatoes into fourths. Toss potatoes with dressing. Serve chilled. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Charleston Receipts Repeats

This is a yummy variation on the plain baked potato. I prefer it with half mayonnaise and half sour cream.

Hot Baked Potato Salad

8 medium potatoes

8 oz. bacon, fried, drained and broken into small pieces

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise or sour cream

1 small can sliced ripe olives (optional)

16 ounces American or Cheddar cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel the potatoes and cook in boiling water for 20 to 25 minutes. Cook just until tender. Let cool and cut into cubes.

In a large bowl the mayonnaise or sour cream (or both), onions and olives. Add salt and pepper. Mix well. Fold in potatoes and cheese.

Put into 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle with bacon. Bake uncovered for about 30 to 40 minutes. Sometimes you know a potato dish would be perfect with your entree but you need something a little &uot;dressier&uot; than plain potato salad, this recipe should fit that need.

Layered Potato Salad

Serves 6 to 8

8 medium baking potatoes

2 1/2 cups mayonnaise

2 cups sour cream

1 teaspoon horseradish

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Salt to taste

1/2 cup fresh parsley

Boil the potatoes whole, just until tender. Let them cool, do not chill. Peel and slice potatoes in 1/8-inch thick slices, set aside. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish, celery seed and salt and set aside.

In another bowl, mix parsley and onion. In a large serving bowl, arrange single layer of potato slices. Cover with a layer of mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle with a layer of onion and parsley. Repeat the layering ending with parsley and onion. Do not stir. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving.

Charleston Receipts Repeats

This recipe came to me from a friend in Texas, where there is a large community of Southerners of Germanic descent. Not only is it delicious it is perfect for picnics and other times when dishes with mayonnaise pose a problem.

German Potato Salad

Serves 6 to 8

9 potatoes, well scrubbed

8 ounces bacon, diced

1/2 cup diced onion

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Drop the unpeeled potatoes into a large saucepan of boiling water. Cover and boil until there is a slight resistance to a knife point. Drain, peel and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside, tightly covered. In a medium skillet, fry the bacon until crisp and drain well. Reserve the drippings. Saut\u00E9 the onion in the drippings until tender, drain. Add white wine and the remaining ingredients. Pour the hot sauce over the potatoes, turning gently with a fork to coat evenly. Gently stir the bacon into the salad. Serve immediately.

This next recipe is from my grandmother, Jessie. I have made it for years without measuring. So this week I finally measured the ingredients as I prepared it and wrote it down. I hope you enjoy it.

Old Fashioned Potato Salad

6 medium-sized potatoes

1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup celery, finely chopped, include some leaves

1/2 cup sweet pickle relish with juice

4 boiled eggs

1/2 cup to 1 cup mayonnaise

Salt; black pepper, and cayenne pepper

Peel the potatoes. Place in a saucepan of salted boiling water. Cook until just tender, does not overcook. Rinse with cold water, drain well and place in refrigerator. Cool completely and cut into bite size chunks. Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Add the finely chopped onion, celery and relish. Peel and cut each egg in half and remove the yolk and set aside.

Coarsely chop up the egg whites and add to the potato mixture. In a small bowl mash the egg yolks then mix in the mayonnaise. I usually start with 1/2 cup of mayonnaise. Gently fold in the mayonnaise into the potato mixture. Add more mayonnaise if needed. Serve well chilled.