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Potato Salad

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
How far in advance can I make potato salad? Can I cook the potatoes the day before and assemble the day of? Or should I make the whole thing the day before and keep in fridge?

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post #2 of 22
It gets better with a day in the fridge as the flavors blend and cure for lack of a better term.

Unless you're doing a hot potato salad in the german style. Those are best fresh.

Phil
post #3 of 22
I'd make it the day before. I think it gets better after a day too!
post #4 of 22
I also agree with the making the day before. DO NOT cook potatoes and let get cold before making potato salad. Warm potatoes suck up flavor, cold potatoes don't. So instead of a nice flavorfull mouthfull you would get mayo dressing on cold potato chunk.
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post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
That's the answer I wanted to hear! Warm potatoes, dress, stick in the fridge, serve the next day: perfect.

Thank you!

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post #6 of 22
Just make sure the salad gets chilled down pretty quick. Don't want the bacteria that may be present in your high-risk egg mayo multiplying.
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post #7 of 22
While I agree with dressing the hot potatoes, I don't add the mayo until they are cold. For "American" potato salad I toss the warm potatoes with yellow mustard, onion, celery, and the seasonings. I then let it chill for a couple of hours then add the mayo, chopped, hard boiled egg and reseason. The next day I taste the salad again, adjusting seasoning and usually adding a bit more mayo.
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post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
By the way I love this potato salad, really fresh and fragrant. I don't measure the ingredients but I use big handfuls of the herbs, not just sprinkles.

- red potatoes boiled, drained, and quartered (skin on)
- mayo
- dijon mustard
- chopped parsley
- chopped basil
- s/p
- chopped scallion

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post #9 of 22
I agree with Pete about the Mayo thing. To expand on it........IMHO

Although Mayo seems to be much more stable than it was when I was a kid (some 40 years ago:rolleyes: ) it's still can be problematic especially health wise, if you get it near the food danger zone. It's one thing to put mayo on a hot burger or toasted sandwich and then consume it thright there and then, but to add it to Hot potatoes in a salad salad, refrigerate and then let sit out at room temperature for a party like a picnic or something..........You're asking for more trouble than it's worth. Plus, if you are making a mayo based salad, the potatoes, if cooked properly, will break down a bit and bind the salad better.

Personally....... I prefer to have a strong flavor of potato, and then the mixings as an icing on the cake depth of flavor. So the "soaking up the flavor" of the ingredients thing is not that necessary for me.;)
post #10 of 22
boiled or steamed red potatoes, peeled or not sometimes, until fork tender. Then drain and stick 'em back on the hot stove in the hot pan until steam rises from the potatoes. THis gives them a mouth feel and firmness that is unbeatable.

Mix celery, onion, mustard, etc. with the still slightly warm potatoes and into the fridge. Later I add the mayo until I get the consistency I'm looking for.

THen S&P and maybe a bit of fresh chopped Italian parsley for color. Always end with a dash of cayenne (more color, a bit of zip too!).

ANyway, that's the way I do it. I also don't like the idea of using mayo on hot or warm potatoes because the mayo can break just like adding bearnaise to a hot steak.

doc
post #11 of 22
i've never had a problem adding mayo to warm potatoes. Course that doesn't make me right, just lucky i guess.
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post #12 of 22

fresh herbs

I use fresh parsley, but it never occured to use basil, of which I have lots now.

One thing I do with hot potatoes after I cut them up, I splash on red vinegar to the warm potatoes. They absorb quickly and I get nice hits of the vinegar, not much, when I eat it, after adding all the other goodies. yum.


H.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm torn now. Should I put the mayo in when the potatoes are warm or not? I was planning on making it tonight for tomorrow's bbq. I think I'll chance it with warmish potatoes, not all the way cooled down, but cool enough to handle. :smoking:

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post #14 of 22
FoodTV covered this last night, it isn't the mayo that is the problem. The potatoes can carry the nasties along with eggs if used. But a quick cool down in a shallow bowl or pan will get thing below the danger zone plenty fast. And commercial mayo has vinegar in it which will help retard the spoilage or food borne illness bugs.
post #15 of 22
Mayo doesn't have a lot of flavor for the potatoes to suck up. From my reading the "master technique" seems to be more as Pete described: Hit them with the strong flavors while warm. Most often this is vinegar and mustard.

I like to use a so-called boiled dressing about half and half with mayo in my potato salad. It has a fair bit of vinegar and really kicks up potato salad.

Boiled dressing was used more historically for potato salad, cole slaw, chicken salad and other places before commercial mayonnaise hit the market. It's a mix of egg yolks, cream, vinegar, a bit of chicken stock, and seasonings, somethimes a little flour to help it bind. And heated+whisked until it thickens. Good stuff.
post #16 of 22
is ketchup or sweet pickle what can be used to make a sweeter tasting potato salad?

or would u use sugar or even honey and mustard?

how is the German potato salad made?
post #17 of 22
Germany has a lot of different potato salads, including the mayo style common to the US.

But the hot German potato salad I make is like this;

Cook potatoes, about 6 cups of cubes. Reserve some potato cooking water, about a cup.

Fry 6 strips bacon 'til crisp. Remove bacon, adjust dripping amount to a few tablespoons fat (usually pour some off unless you have a super lean bacon)

Saute about a half cup of chopped onion in the fat until translucent and scraped up the bacon fond. Add 2 tablespoons flour to form a roux but don't let it color, just cook through. Add 2 T sugar, salt &pepper to taste, 1 t celery seed and 1/2 cup white vinegar though cider vinegar is also good. Whisk to combine evenly until it thickens up.

In the pan, combine the cubed potatoes adjusting dressing thickness with the reserved potato water. Correct seasoning and serve hot.

Edited: Crumble the bacon and mix it in too of course. Kinda forgot that part off the top of my head.
post #18 of 22
Sweet pickles or relish is often used in potato salad. i prefer dills or bread and butter pickles but I'm not big on sweet & sour flavors compared to the average person.

The herbfarm cookbook has a good balsamic & herb potato salad I like that is sweeter than I generally like.
post #19 of 22
I had the good fortune of meeting and hanging out with Chef Paul Prudhomme a year and a half ago. One thing we talked about was when to add sauces/mayo/aioli/etc to potatoes. His words to my ears, dress the potato either for use with mashed potatoes or anything you're using the cooked potatoes for while they're still warm-ish, much more porous and able to accept the dressing then when they've sat around and cooled. I sort of knew that already but hearing it from such a Master, priceless.
Since I was a little girl, I watched Grams make it with sweet pickle juice, just something I noticed as I was always in her kitchen spying on her skills. So that's what I use. Conversely, my MIL makes hers completely different than I do. She mixes half and half with her mayo, and puts pimiento into hers too, and uses regular white sugar as her sweetener. I don't care for hers, never grew to like it. But, our kids and their father adore hers, so....................

About German potato salad.
I was never taught nor did I check out any cookbooks on the subject, and I could have, I own a truckfull of them. My ideas came from flavors that to me, fit in there, in something German. So, when I do them, and I do love them [although not your typical 4th of July potato salad] I use these ingredients in creating mine.

Any kind of potato but my favorite = small red new potatoes and not peeled but cut large pieces after cooking.
Vinegar, my choice> don't laugh is seasoned rice wine vinegar or pineapple vinegar.
Mayo or home made garlic aioli < [similar to some on here] depending on my mood.
Bacon, fried off, grease rendered down, pull out bacon and now toss in lots of sliced raw onions, 1/4 green cabbage sliced fine, one pinch caraway seeds, my house seasoning, cook until soft and suptle. Yank out, set aside. Crumble bacon. One small tin of good quality black olives, chopped. I have no idea why but to me, any black olive works here. I love olives, so try at your own risk. Potatoes in bowl, add the mayo or aioli, vinegar to taste, veggies in, black olives in, stir to combine, toss crumbled bacon over all stir, serve either a bit warm or room temperature.
This is spooned on a lettuce leaf, and then I use a potato peeler to do a couple of long shards of Jarsberg cheese just on top, maybe 3 or 4 wisps.
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post #20 of 22
that does sound good. bet it tastes like ya went that extra bit too.
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post #21 of 22
You know, I never mentioned crumbling the bacon and mixing it back in, but I think most of you here know to do that.
post #22 of 22

I realize this is an old thread, but I had to put in my 2 cents worth.

 

Never ever use cold potatoes to make potato salad, they will not absorb any flavors from the other ingredients and will produce a sub quality product.

 

Potatoes for potato salad should be boiled whole with the skin on for a number of reasons. Just under the skin of the potato is a layer where most of the vitamins and minerals are located, by boiling with the skin on, the thin layer of skin can be slipped off saving this layer. When Russet potatoes are boiled whole the starch is retained in the flesh of the potato and the potato tends to remain in a cube shape when used in potato salad whereas potatoes cubed and boiled leach the starch out and tend to be mushier and loose there shape somewhat. Potatoes boiled whole skin on, will not absorb water while cubed and boiled will. Potatoes boiled whole, skinned, cubed and dressed while still warm to hot will better absorb the flavors from the other ingredients. Potatoes cubed and boiled tend to absorb water and become watery thus unable to absorb the flavors from the other ingredients. Some will say that there is not much difference between the two methods, but it can be the difference between potato salad, and really good potato salad. Boiling with the skin on takes more time and diligence to cook the potatoes to the point where they are not under-cooked yet not over cooked and are for cooks that take pride in what they produce. Perfectly cooked potatoes are done when a knife will easily slide through the potato without much resistance. Cubing and boiling potatoes are for cooks that are lazy and don't care to make the very best they can.  

 

MaryB is correct about the mayonnaise thing.  The pH of mayo is low enough to kill all the bad stuff and the potatoes can potentially be the problem if handled wrong.  I use Mayo, Mustard, Dill Pickles and a little pickle juice in my pot salad so the pH is low enough to keep everything safe as long as the potato salad is properly cooled after it is made.  At the restaurant I store the mayonnaise in the cooler because of the Health Department, but at home I keep it in the cupboard (I have more important and valuable things to keep cold that really need the cold) and have never had a problem.  

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