Thursday, July 5, 2007

rosanne cash’s potato salad

weathered barn country

Is there anything bursting with more flag-draped-weathered-barn American nostalgia than potato salad? How about a recipe from Rosanne Cash, daughter of the late Johnny Cash? It really adds to the experience if you sing “Walk the Line” off-key in the kitchen while your husband grimaces in the next room as your chop your eggs and pickles. And it doesn’t get any better than bringing it in a big old bucket to a 4th of July barbeque.

red potatoes

I know I told you just two weeks ago what our favorite potato salad was but as it turns out, I’ve got room in my allegiances for another. Though this may be the classic potato salad most people grew up with, I had never tried it before yesterday, driven away by the mysterious glop of it all. But if you make it yourself, there’s no smoke-and-mirrors to it, just everything but the kitchen sink: big chunks of red skinned potatoes, cubes of hard-boiled eggs, slivered celery, diced onion, a few pinches of free dill and the dreamy dressing trifecta, vinegar, mayo and mustard.

quartered red potatoes

I mean, big rooftop barbeques, exploding skies and loud, loud music are just not times for culinary restraint. It would have been, however, a good time for some self-discipline with that magnum bottle of wine we brought (klassy!), but alas, today has been about water, aspirin and long-suffering glances at my disheveled appearance in the mirror. Ah, well. These, too, are some fine American traditions.

“You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” — Erma Bombeck (thanks Matt!)

roseanne cash's potato salad

Rosanne Cash’s Americana Potato Salad
Adapted from Bon Appetit

This, to me, is the most American of potato salads — cluttered, crunchy and bright, and so busy, it seems only the kitchen sink was left out. Be warned, however, make this for one picnic and prepare to feel unwelcome if you don’t bring it to all that follow. It forms something of a habit, quickly.

New note, 6/6/15: I hadn’t made this in a couple summers and did so today for a crowd. I found that I could scale it 150% (i.e. 4 1/2 pounds potato) and not increase the dressing at all and it was still lovely and well-dressed. I’d say the amount as written below is better for people who like a huge amount of dressing with their potato salad.

Serves at least 8

3 pounds medium red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed
8 dill pickle spears or a handful of cornichon, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and cool, then cut potatoes into chunks and transfer to large bowl. Stir in pickles, celery, onion, eggs, mayonnaise, mustard vinegar and dill. Season potato salad to taste with salt and pepper.

Do ahead: Vegetables and dressing can be prepared and stored separately a day or two in advance. Mix and let stand at room temperature one hour before serving.


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