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July 13, 2010 / Ranylt

Ranylt’s Family Potato Salad

(Why do I keep posting salad recipes? What’s wrong with me?) I have no idea where this recipe originated, but my mom made it while I was growing up, and I know she learned it from her mother. It’s old-fashioned and obviously born in an era when mayonnaise was the most exotic condiment to be found in Upper Canada. I’ve tweaked it to modern palates: doing away with the peeling, adding a dollop of Dijon mustard and lots of fresh parsley and chives (rosemary would also work, but omit the Dijon). Ultimately, though, the secret to this uber-traditional Northeastern potato salad is in the pickles. My mother and grandmother — neither of them canners — used plain store-bought pickles, but try it with garlic dill pickles if you can find them (we all know how essential garlic is to goodness). And if you happen to preserve or know someone who does, throw in homemade pickles and see what happens.*


- 6-8 large potatoes, cooked. Peel if you like, but if you have spuds with nice edible skins (reds, Yukons, etc), leaving the skins on tastes better, makes for better texture, and saves a lot of time, to boot)

- 10-12 radishes, sliced to thin rounds

- 6 scallions (green onions), chopped

- 4-5 dill pickles, diced

- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, cooled, and chopped (the soft cooked yokes do wonders for the dressing)

- Chopped fresh parsley and chives, to taste

- Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine everything in large bowl after spuds and eggs have cooled somewhat. Add 2 heaping tbsp of mayonnaise (NOT MIRACLE WHIP FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!) and 1 heaping tbsp of Dijon mustard. Stir together, adjust mayo/mustard to taste (will depend on how ‘wet’ you like your dressing). Adjust for salt (don’t skimp, since this is a starch-based dish). Sprinkle top of salad with some Spanish paprika to be truly exotic and authentic circa 1959 (avoid the smoked stuff!). Best eaten in the summer with grilled meats, corn on the cob and strawberry shortcake. Possibly the easiest and most popular potluck dish around, too.

*If you guys are really really good, I’ll post my smooth-as-soapstone garlic dill pickles recipe, which are always The Best Pickles I’ve Ever Had! to anyone who tries them (large, hopeful, empty Mason jars and bribes invariably arrive on my doorstep from folks desperate to get in on the annual garlic-pickle action at our place).

(Posted by Ranylt)

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Leave a Comment
  1. lizzieborden / Jul 13 2010 4:35 pm

    oh god potato salad you are a goddess.

  2. lizzieborden / Jul 13 2010 4:36 pm

    uh, i mean you Ranylt are a goddess for posting htis, not that the salad is a deity.

    • TK / Jul 14 2010 4:47 pm

      I dunno, I certainly get pretty worshipful at summer bbq’s.

      The inclusion of pickles is fucking genius.

  3. figgylicious / Jul 13 2010 6:31 pm

    There is NOTHING more delicious in potato salad than scallions.

    In fact, I might write an ode to scallions.

    OOH! That reminds me to post my scallion-potato soup recipe.

    • Ranylt / Jul 13 2010 8:12 pm

      If you ever write that ode, post it on Godtopus Eats!

  4. Cristina Norcross / Jul 13 2010 8:55 pm

    Looks so yummy and inviting! Great for summer picnics.

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