Me and potato salad, we go way back. Summertime family gatherings when I was a kid were usually the venue for a traditional mayo, hard-boiled egg kind of potato salad. The ladies in my family had it going on when it came to saladifying some spuds. The potatoes were always cooked to the perfect tenderness, the sauce was never too heavy (if you've ever had the misfortune of putting the store-bought stuff in your mouth, you know what I mean by this), and there was just the right amount of celery and egg for texture and flavor.
We (my brothers and cousins and pretty much everyone who wasn't directly involved with cooking the meals in my family) always looked forward to potato salad. I realize that I'm implying disdain on the part of the cooks here. I think it was tedious to cut potatoes for 15 + people into tiny cubes. That gave this side dish an elusiveness that put it into that "special treat" category, making it all the more desirable.
Nowadays, though, I haven't been thinking about it too much. Mom's too many thousands of miles away to make it for me, and it's not something that I've implemented into my repertoire. Until now.
My boyfriend, Dan, and I attended a birthday BBQ for a friend a few weeks ago where we met and fell in love (or re-discovered an existing love?) with potato salad. This salad didn't wear the same traditional dress that my grandma's had. No egg, no mayo anywhere to be seen.
But this potato salad was the shiz-nit (pardon my slangy French). Big, skin-on chunks of creamy potatoes, thin slices of spicy radishes, diced red onion and celery... all coated in a light, yet intensely flavorful, grainy Dijon and honey blend with bits of parsley clinging on for dear life.
People couldn't stop talking about how freakin' tasty this potato salad was. The lip smacking and happy grunting was audible practically two blocks away. I was secretly jealous that I hadn't made the incredible potato salad. So later I found the recipe online that our hostess had used and brought that new potato salad to life in my own kitchen (it's aliiive!) using red-skinned and All-Blue potatoes that we had dug up from our very own garden. It was like Holy crap! Golly! Gosh wow! in our mouths, and it was equally as exciting to look at (ooo, pretty colors).
It could be like that for you too. Just follow these instructions.
Honey Dijon Potato Saladadapted from this recipe on the Food Network
serves 4-6 (or two really potato-salad-crazed people)
2 - 2 1/2 lbs. small potatoes, quartered
1/4 C. honey
1/4 C. Dijon mustard
2 T. white wine vinegar
1/3 C. extra-virgin olive oil
6 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 C. red onion, chopped
3-4 ribs celery, chopped
1 C. flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium pot, cover potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. Salt the water and boil potatoes until just tender, 8 - 9 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine the honey, Dijon, and vinegar in a large bowl, then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Add radishes, onions, celery, parsley and potatoes to the bowl. Toss the potato salad and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle and get to know one another.
Serve to friends and family or horde it all to yourself. It's up to you!