Lick-the-Bowl-Clean Potato Salad

Columbia County, New York  I  Monday, 7 May 2018

I’ve never been a fan of potato salad, and I’ve only eaten two potato salads I even care to remember.

The first was made by my Aunt Bonnie, when we went on a picnic with her, many moons ago, when Thing 1 was just a toddler. I never did get the recipe from her, but she told me she always used red potatoes.

The second memorable potato salad was at a community picnic in Green River, Utah, on Pioneer Day 2009. I didn’t get that recipe, either, but I do remember it had huge chunks of dill pickle in it, and it was sooo good.

But somehow, I’ve been sure I SHOULD like potato salad. And I’ve long had a sneaking suspicion that in order to be known as a really good cook, I should have a to-die-for potato salad recipe in my arsenal, but I didn’t. And I didn’t much care.

Until now. Until I stumbled upon a link to an interesting-looking recipe in one of my Facebook recipe groups. And since the month of May is upon us, bringing with it picnic season, I thought I should give it a whirl, just for kicks.

I cautiously halved the recipe. I was pretty sure Thing 2 wouldn’t touch it, and I didn’t want to waste a bunch of potatoes and eggs, in case it turned out yucky.

But, much to my surprise, it didn’t. It turned out sooo delicious, after I ate my first serving I licked the bowl clean. (Shhh! I wouldn’t have done that if I was in PUBLIC, of course, hahaha!)

Next time I made the recipe, I cooked up a full batch, and made some modifications, to make the recipe feel more my own.

I’m on my third bowl today. Hey! It’s really yummy! And the recipe is just too good not to share, especially since Memorial Day and the summer picnic season is upon us.

Warning: this is not low calorie, and it’s not one of those quick-and-easy recipes. It takes some time. The hardest part is waiting for it to chill in the fridge overnight! I sneak a bowl right after I make it, but it truly tastes even better the next day.

6-8 medium red potatoes, roughly peeled
8 eggs, divided use
4-6 medium dill pickles, chunked
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 bunch green onions, sliced
1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons mustard
1/4 cup butter
1 cup mayonnaise

Put potatoes and SIX eggs in a large pot of water, bringing to a boil. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork or knife.

Drain water, and place potatoes and eggs in a bowl of cold water. When cooled, cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Peel eggs and slice, reserving several pretty slices for garnishing top of salad.

Place potatoes, eggs, dill pickle, and red and green onions in a large mixing bowl. Salt mixture, stir, and sit aside, allowing potatoes and eggs to cool further, while you cook the sauce.

It’s important to gather all your sauce ingredients together before proceeding, so you don’t need to leave the stove. In a medium-sized sauce pan, whisk TWO eggs, sugar, and cornstarch over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Do not leave the stove. (If you do, eggs will get overcooked, and you’ll have clumpy sauce and a messy pan on your hands. I speak from personal experience.)

Add vinegar, milk, and mustard, whisking again. Boil for about ten minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Stir in butter, until completely melted.

Chill sauce in refrigerator. Remove from fridge, add mayonnaise, and whisk mixture. Pour over potato mixture, and mix by lifting from the bottom while turning the bowl, instead of stirring. You don’t want to turn your potatoes into mush by over stirring.

Garnish top of salad with hard-boiled egg slices and sprinkled paprika.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for several hours, or preferably overnight. Salad tastes best the next day!

When I say “roughly peel” the red potatoes, I mean you can leave on some small areas of skin for color. I don’t suggest leaving on all the skins for the finished recipe, even though I’m a fan of the nutrients potato skins provide, because they pull away from the potatoes.

The original recipe calls for you to boil the potatoes with the skin on, and then peel them after the potatoes are boiled. I’d much rather peel a cold potato than a hot potato, myself. And yes, I did try it both ways.

When I say “medium dill pickles”, I mean ones about 2″ to 4″ long. In other words, larger than a little sweet pickle, but definitely much smaller than those pickle spears you get on the side of your sandwich at your favorite restaurant.

Let’s talk about onions! I use red ones for color, although you could use white or yellow ones. And as far as green onions, use whatever amount you think looks reasonable.

I used wild onions from my yard, since they’re popping up in clumps all over the place, and I like feeling like a foraging wild woman. I add the green onions for color, as well as a bit more oniony flavor. Yes, “oniony” is a word. Because I said so.

You can sprinkle in ground mustard powder, instead of regular prepared mustard from a squeeze bottle. That’s what I did.

I recommend Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. (That’s what it’s called if you buy it east of the Rocky Mountains. If you live west of the Rockies, it’s known as Best Foods Mayonnaise. No, I don’t know why.)

To read about our family’s trip to Green River, Utah, where I ate delicious potato salad at the community picnic:

Here’s a link to the original recipe:

To read about the history of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise:’s_and_Best_Foods