Recipe: All-American Potato Salad

All American Potato Salad from Cooks IllustratedMore than 1 million home cooks rely on Cook’s Illustrated magazine to provide trusted recipes that work, honest equipment reviews and ingredient taste tests, and time-saving kitchen tips.  Published by the hosts of America’s Test Kitchen television series, Cook’s Illustrated is known for an almost fanatical approach to creating the best recipes for the home cook’s favorite foods.  To do this, they test every recipe 20, 30, sometimes up to 100 times in their own 2,500 square foot test kitchen where they make the mistakes so you don’t have to.  They also test and recommend which kitchen equipment is the best to use, which supermarket ingredients really make a difference and which techniques work best for the home cook.  And because Cook’s Illustrated is advertising free, you can trust their objective ratings to identify what products are worth your money and which to avoid. Subscribe to Cooks Illustrated here, or sign up for the Perfectly Plated Sweepstakes for the chance to win $5,000 in merchandise from Ballard Designs.

Too many potato salads are bland. The key is to season the potatoes when they hot and can still absorb other flavors. We choose russet potatoes because they crumble a bit when cooked and form a creamy, cohesive salad. Once the chunks of peeled potatoes are tender, they are drained and seasoned with a splash of white vinegar. After cooling a bit, it’s time to add the other seasonings—sweet pickle relish, mustard powder, celery seed, parsley, salt, and pepper—as well as finely chopped celery and minced red onion. Just 1/2 cup of mayonnaise is enough to dress 2 pounds of potatoes perfectly.

Recipe: All-American Potato Salad
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes (3 to 4 medium), peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • Table salt
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 medium rib celery, chopped fine (about ½ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (see note)
  • ¾ teaspoon powdered mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes (optional)
  1. Place potatoes in large saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; add 1 tablespoon salt, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Drain potatoes and transfer to large bowl. Add vinegar and, using rubber spatula, toss gently to combine. Let stand until potatoes are just warm, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together celery, onion, pickle relish, mayonnaise, mustard powder, celery seed, parsley, pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt. Using rubber spatula, gently fold dressing and eggs, if using, into potatoes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour; serve. (Potato salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

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