Wednesday, July 6, 2011

America's Test Kitchen Potato Salad Challenge

I ate pie for breakfast today.

I ate pie for lunch today too.

Now I'm making potato salad for dinner so I don't eat more pie.....

It is also pouring so I can't go outside and get away from the pie that is sitting there, calling my name, begging me to eat it.

For some reason I have been craving potato salad for the last couple of days. Then I saw this for America's Test Kitchen's Blogger Challenge.

I actually went to the store yesterday afternoon to get potatoes to make potato salad for dinner. I had a list in my hand when I walked in the store. It said:

Simple enough right?

I'm 28, I shouldn't have to have a list to come out of the store with three items. But I do.

I walk into the store, see aisle upon aisle of wonderful ingredients, then I start to wander, thinking of new recipes and wondering what to make with the random things that start to pile into my cart. So a list is a necessity.

So is getting a basket at the door and not a cart. Carts have too much room to pile all the unnecessary things I end up getting.

However, even with a list in hand, I walked out of the store with coffee, toothpaste, Kashi granola bars, purple glittery flip-flops, and a candy bar.

No potatoes. Pretty sad huh? So I had pie for dinner last night too.

Today I got my potatoes. I came home and immediately put them in water and turned up the heat.

Then I started thinking about what exactly I was going to do to them when I realized, I grew up HATING potato salad. It is right up there on my list of nasty foods, right beside macaroni salad.

I called my mother. I asked her what she puts into potato salad.

She sounded surprised. She knows I HATE it. But she told me anyways.

Her list included potatoes (duh), mayo, mustard, green pepper, boiled egg, onion, salt, and pepper.

So now I knew what NOT to put into my potato salad. I did not want the slimy, nasty concoction that arrives at almost every picnic, all summer long across the country.

First off, I wanted a nice smooth, creamy tasting potato, so I went with Yukon Gold.

I also wanted a dressing that would hold up to a cookout or picnic, which is where mayonnaise fails miserably.

I also wanted to avoid the slimy texture that an oil-based dressing adds.

Then I Googled, looking for spice ideas. I found several labeled with "southern" and they used Old Bay seasoning. Y'all can't get more Southern than that. (I learned that quickly when moving from Ohio to North Carolina.)

A little messing around and this is what I came up with. It's delicious served chilled or at room temperature.

Salt and Pepper Potato Salad

By Sarah the Food Addict
Published: July 6, 2011

Prep time: 20
Cook time: 20
Total time: 30
Yield: 4 servings

Serving size: /4 lb
Calories per serving: 120
Fat per serving: 0.2g


1 lb Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/2 C Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1-2 tsp (optional)Sugar
2 tsp Coarsely Ground Sea Salt
1/4 Red Onion
2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper


Place the whole potatoes into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes begin to soften into the center, about 20 minutes. Do not over cook the potatoes, you want them to be able to hold up to being tossed with the dressing.

Meanwhile, slice the onion into ¼” thick slices. Divide out the pieces.

In a small bowl, combine salt, vinegar, mustard, and sugar. Wisk together. Add in onions. Allow to marinate for 30-40 minutes. The sugar will cut the acidity of the vinegar for those who do not like a strong vinegar taste, however the sugar is not included in the calorie or fat information from above.

When the potatoes are tender, remove from water and allow to cool enough to handle.

Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks of desired size.

Toss with pepper and Old Bay seasoning. Pour vinegar mixture and onions over the potatoes. Toss gently to evenly coat. If you're lucky enough to have one of these wonderful Farberware bowls with a lid, just put the lid on and gently shake it all together.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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