Do you have a crowd to feed this 4th of July? Me too. It is tradition in our family that I make the potato salad, and that I make enough for a ton of people so everybody can take some home. This was also one of my dad’s favorite dishes, and since the 4th of July was his favorite holiday, he has been on my mind a lot lately.
I miss my dad. Every single day. He was a prince among men, disguised in a rumpled shirt, reading glasses covered with paint splatters, bits of sawdust and motor oil, and a baseball cap that looked like it had been run over several times.
My dad put training wheels on my first bicycle, and bought me a pony when I was too little for a big horse. He bought my first car, a three speed, 1965 Mustang that had seen much better days. Then he took his life into own his hands and taught me how to drive it. He helped buy my first house, and spent an entire year fixing it up. We fought like cats and dogs during that year, since we each had a different perspective on how the place should look. He favored white, black, and red. I despised them. One day, I was painting the dining room ceiling a vivid rose color (looking back, it was hideous and I eventually did it over in another color). Grandpa Bob walked in, saw what I was doing, and had a fit. Then he stomped out and slammed the door. Thirty minutes later he came back with two giant ice cream cones. That is how the year progressed. We went through a lot of ice cream, and he never gave up on me.
Our dad loved every single moment of his life, had an amazing sense of observational humor, and could sell you the Brooklyn Bridge even if you already had one. He loved to eat, and this Potato Salad was always one of his favorites. He would always ask for seconds, but would caution, “Just a little spoonful. I’m delicate, you know”. Happy 4th of July, Grandpa Bob. I love you. …now let’s get going on this recipe!
First, let’s start on the Potatoes and Eggs since they require cooking. I use Russet Potatoes, but if you prefer Yukon Gold, go for it. Here’s a trick my Aunt Margie taught me: put the potatoes in a steamer, then place the eggs on top. When the potatoes are done, the eggs will be too. Genius. I like to steam the potatoes and eggs the day before, because peeling hot potatoes is not a good strategy. Potato skins almost slip off if they are cold. Don’t forget to get those eggs into an ice water bath as soon as they are finished cooking – this will prevent future cussing when it comes to peeling them.
After your potatoes and eggs are all diced up, it’s time for the secret sauce: Equal parts full fat mayonnaise and light sour cream. Mustard too, florescent yellow. Trust me on this. Everybody ready? I’d say so. Since this recipe makes a lot, I usually mix it up in a big dishpan or some such thing. It takes some muscle, so often I just put my cooking gloves on and dive on it with my hands, rather than wrestling a spoon. …and we have Potato Salad! It’s so much fun to pretty this up a little bit, and Tricia came up with the idea of serving it in a radicchio leaf, which I must admit is one of her best ideas yet.Not into the radicchio idea? Any pretty bowl will work just fine, and if you happen to have some fresh chives or dill laying around, garnish to your heart’s content!
Enough talking – let’s start eating.. trust a cook who does not taste (in my case shovel in) their own cooking. Unlike Grandpa Bob, I am not a delicate eater. In fact, was in such a hurry did not notice my apron was on inside out.
Happiest Independence Day to you all, and blessings to our fathers, whether here or in heaven. I miss you Grandpa Bob, and miss my Uncle Nolie too, also a wonderful dad – who we lost much too soon a little over a year ago. Since this was also one of Nolie’s favorites, I will remember him each and every time I make it. Thanks for reading!! xoxoxo
- 1, 10 pound bad of small russet potatoes (cooked and cut into ¼ inch dice)
- 1 dozen eggs (hard cooked and cut into 1-inch dice, or sliced with an egg slicer)
- 4-5 large, good quality dill pickles, cut into ¼ inch pieces
- 5-6 scallions, cut on the bias
- I pint reduced fat sour cream
- 2 cups full-fat mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To cook potatoes separately: Steam potatoes whole if they are about 3 inches long. If they are longer, cut in half prior to steaming. Steam until tender when pricked with a sharp knife. Set aside to cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To cook eggs separately: Place eggs in a large saucepan, and cover with in inch of cold water. Bring the water to a boil, and turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes, and immediately place in a cold-water bath until chilled. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To cook potatoes and eggs together: Place potatoes in a large steamer basket. Set eggs on top of potatoes. Steam until potatoes are tender. When potatoes are tender, eggs are finished cooking. Cool potatoes to room temperature. Place eggs immediately into a cold water batch. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- For the sauce: Stir together reduced-fat sour cream, mayonnaise, and mustard.
- To assemble: In a large container (dishpans are good for this), lightly toss together potatoes, eggs, pickles, and scallions. Stir in half the sauce and mix gently. Stir in reminding sauce slowly, until you are happy with the consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.