Sunday, January 15, 2006

Another good potato salad



THE Potato Salad
The Ugly Binder, from Russell Johnson’s website

5 lbs. russet potatoes
1 large sweet onion, minced very fine (Walla Walla Sweets in their short season are the best, but off-season, use whatever sweet onion you prefer.)
1 dozen hard cooked eggs I only used 6 eggs
2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced (use some of the green too) I used finely chopped celery
One-minute Wesson Dressing (recipe below)
Mayonnaise - and plenty of it: Best Foods (Hellman's to you on the east coast) is preferred.

One minute Wesson dressing (make this ahead if you like. Use it for other things too)
(This is for 10 lbs of potatoes so you’ll need to cut everything in half if you only make 5 lbs of potatoes like I did.)
Mix together well:
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 Cup cider vinegar
1&1/2 Cup Wesson oil

Simmer the potatoes in their jackets in salted water just until done.

In the meantime, make the One Minute Wesson dressing and mince the onion very fine. If you use a food processor and it gets a little watery, that's okay. I used the mini-chopper that attaches to my stick blender.

Peel and cube the potatoes while they are still hot. As you proceed, mix in the onion, a generous amount of One Minute Wesson and salt to taste. Let this come to room temperature, mixing occasionally, then refrigerate overnight or, at least, several hours. Mix it gently a few more times. This marinating process is primarily what gives the salad its special taste and color. The fine onion melts its flavors and texture into the hot potatoes.

Before serving, gently mix in the green onions, cubed hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise, then salt and pepper to taste. The potatoes will break up some and add to the creaminess of this salad, which only makes it more wonderful.

Okay, I alread did a potato salad from The Gourmet Cookbook but I was still wanting to try this recipe which I had tucked away in my ugly binder not too before I started this blog. I found this recipe on Russell Johnson’s website (www.russell-johnson.com). Russell was the Professor on Gilligan’s Island. This is a recipe he found and proclaimed ‘THE’ Potato Salad, even better than his own. I didn’t post it word for word so if you want to check out the full-version, check out the ‘Cookin’ with the Prof’ section of his website.

This was another really good potato salad. I think it's hard to mess up potato salad as long as you stick to the basic ingredients and marinate the hot potatoes in some type of vinegar (which I now know is the secret to good potato salad). I wish I had cooked the potatoes longer because I prefer mushy potatoes in my potato salad. I know that picture isn't particularly attractive but trust me it was good. I was going to add the green onion for more color but I just never got around to it.

I served this at my son’s birthday party. He turned two this week. This was just family, I think two years old is too young for kid’s parties. I can’t imagine trying to coordinate the schedules of a roomful of small children. As it was, my son got cranky, threw a bowl of pretzels on the floor and fell asleep on the couch about 15 minutes before the party started and probably would have slept through it if my husband’s grandmother didn’t force him to wake up. She’s very lucky he woke up somewhat pleasant.

You might think I would have a slew of recipes for you, from this party, but that’s not the case. When it comes to cooking for this crowd, I stick to the basics. Along with this potato salad. I made breaded chicken tenders, pan fried then baked off and I drizzle them with a bit of melted butter in which I steeped several cloves of garlic. I made hot and sweet Italian sausage cooked with peppers and tomato sauce. I also served a green salad, rolls and butter. And, of course, the cake and ice cream. (I’ll post about the cake next.) I didn’t use recipes for anything but the potato salad and the cake.

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