There are some recipes that can only be made one way, and all of the other ways are wrong. To me, potato salad falls in that category. The only right way to make it is just like my mom makes it, and if you add celery, onions, or so much paprika that it turns orange, YOU ARE WRONG. If you don’t add mayo AND mustard, YOU ARE WRONG. In fact, the only improvement I’ve made to the method she taught me is adding extra dill.
And I say method she taught me because I never received any measurements or written anything. She said she just made it up, so that’s probably a reason behind the lack of measuring. Before I moved out I asked to learn how to make some of my favorite dishes, which were all mostly potatoes as far as I can remember. I never have measured out my potato salad ingredients since, until now. Let me tell you, it’s hard to make yourself stop and measure when you’re so used to just doing it.
In addition to actually measuring this time, I stopped to research this particular potato salad. It’s not quite German in that German salads either use mayo OR mustard, and generally also add vinegar. It isn’t quite American but it’s more American than it is German. I suspect that the lack of additional vegetable components of onions, bell peppers, celery were due to familial preference (my dad hating vegetables). Like most kids, I loved tangy stuff and always requested more pickles, more pickles, which is where my desire to add dill came into play once I began making this on my own. This recipe is very forgiving as far as customization, so play with it to get the effect you desire.
- 9-11 red potatoes dice into bite sized pieces
- 10 eggs
- 1/3 cup yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 4-6 dill pickle spears (or a whole dill pickle, or an equivalent amount of baby dills, whatever)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Dried or fresh dill, to taste (optional)
- Paprika (optional)
- Hard boil the eggs. I prefer this Instant Pot method for insanely easy-to-peel eggs.
- Put the diced potatoes in water and bring to a boil.
- Once the eggs have finished and are cool enough to handle, peel them and remove the yolks into a separate large bowl.
- Chop up the white parts into smaller pieces and set aside. I don’t like a ton of white parts in mine, so I remove about a quarter of them to feed to my dogs.
- Mix the yolks together with the mayonnaise and mustard, adjusting for taste for a tangier or mellower flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus dill if desired.
- The potatoes should be boiling by now, so add a teaspoon of salt and reduce the heat to medium low. Let the potatoes simmer for 12 minutes or until they are able to be pierced by a fork, but not falling apart. (If you overcook them to where they are falling apart, resign yourself to making mashed potatoes and egg salad today with the same ingredients).
- Drain the potatoes and let cool slightly. Chop up the pickles.
- Once the potatoes are cooled down, mix them with the yolk-mayo mixture.
- Add in the egg whites and pickles and fold together.
- Adjust salt, pepper and additional seasonings to taste.
This makes a fairly saucy potato salad. Ease up on the mayonnaise and mustard or add more potatoes if you like a lighter coating on your potato salad.