By JEAN TELLER
From Grit magazine
Mention potato salad in a group of people and stand back. You'll be regaled with emphatic likes and dislikes, and probably as many recipes as there are individuals.
MAMA MERIDETH’S potato salad reminds you of your mother’s recipe.
Mustard or mayonnaise? Pickles or no? Onions? What kind of potatoes? You get the picture.
Our office cook-off provided a platform for nine intrepid chefs among our colleagues, and more than 50 hungry co-workers helped us judge the best cold salad, the best warm aalad, the best salad with meat and the most unusual salad.
Now, for your dining pleasure, here are the winners.
Mama Meredith's potato salad
Six to eight russet potatoes
6 hard-boiled eggs
5 slices green pepper
3 scallion tops
1/4 cup onion
10 dill pickle slices, approximately
5 slices bacon
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped dried celery
1/4 teaspoon cilantro
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Sprinkle garlic salt
Freshly ground pepper
3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise
Boil potatoes for about 20 to 30 minutes, according to size of potatoes.
Peel skins after cooling and dice into squares.
Boil eggs, chop them along with green peppers, onion, scallions, pickles and bacon. Add to potatoes.
Add remaining ingredients. Gently mix in mayonnaise and cool overnight, or at least 1 hour before serving.
Note: If I have radishes on hand, cut up about four or five to add for color.
Mom's German potato salad
3 pounds red potatoes
1 pound bacon
1 large onion
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/3 cups water
2/3 cup vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
Boil potatoes, peel and dice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Dice bacon and onion; fry together in large skillet. Do not drain.
Add flour to skillet and mix well.
Combine water, vinegar and sugar. Slowly add liquid to skillet. Thicken over low heat.
Pour bacon mixture over potatoes and gently combine.
Note: Mom never measured anything, she did it all by taste. Add less sugar if you like a more tart taste.
(or Crazy potato salad)
Eight to nine medium waxy potatoes
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup prosciutto cut in thin strips
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped red or green pepper
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Peel and slice potatoes. Boil to al dente, or "to the tooth," drain and pour white wine over potatoes; cool.
Fry prosciutto until bacon-like consistency; do not overcook.
With heat at high, add potato mixture to prosciutto in skillet and let fat coat potatoes. Quickly coat and remove from heat.
Place mixture in large bowl. Add onion, oil, vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, and chopped peppers. Chill several hours.
When ready to serve, toss with mayonnaise and garnish with parsley.
Note: Sweet potatoes may be used in place of a few of the waxy potatoes.
The term, al dente, as defined by Epicurious.com, is an Italian phrase meaning "to the tooth," used to describe pasta or other food that is cooked only until it offers a slight resistance when bitten into, but which is not soft or overdone.
Four large russet potatoes (I used a medley of purple potatoes, Yukon gold, cranberry reds and new potatoes)
Apple cider vinegar
1 batch garlic mayonnaise, or to taste (recipe follows) (or use commercial light mayo and add Dijon mustard, garlic cloves and a little tarragon vinegar)
1/3 to 1/2 cup whole, fresh tarragon leaves, stripped from stems
1 red onion or several scallions, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste.
Cook and peel potatoes. Dice when nearly cooled and douse liberally with vinegar.
Pouring on vinegar while potatoes are still warm allows vinegar to soak in.
Add garlic mayo, fresh tarragon, chopped onion, salt and pepper.
Mix thoroughly and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend.
Yields four to six servings.
Making mayonnaise in a food processor, blender or with a handheld immersion blender is easy.
Use it for potato salad, to top off grilled asparagus or as an artichoke dip.
Once you've had homemade, you'll never go back to the store-bought stuff.
For a special ice-breaking activity at a dinner party, give each guest a glass of wine, these ingredients, and a mortar and pestle, and let them make the mayo by hand.
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
One large egg
Four or more cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups light vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place vinegar, egg, pressed garlic and mustard in a food-processor bowl.
With machine running, slowly pour oil in steady stream through top.
Although it defies logic, the more oil you add, the thicker the mayo becomes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Yields four to six servings.
Excerpted from Grit magazine, Celebrating rural America since 1882. Read the full story at www.Grit.com or call 866-624-9388 to subscribe. Copyright 2009 by Ogden Publications Inc.