JULIA'S AMERICAN-STYLE POTATO SALAD
Yield: About 6 cups, serving 4 to 6
- 2 pounds large Yukon Gold potatoes, or other waxy, boiling potatoes
- 2 Tbs cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup chicken stock or potato-cooking water
- 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 3 or 4 slices crisply cooked bacon, chopped or crumbled
- 2 to 3 Tbs finely chopped pickle, sweet or dill
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced thin
- 3 Tbs or so finely chopped fresh chives or scallions, including a bit of
their tender green
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 1 cup or so mayonnaise, homemade if possible
- Sour cream (optional)
Crisp whole red-leaf or other lettuce leaves
Canned red pimiento, diced; sliced hard-boiled eggs; tomato quarters; parsley
Peel the potatoes and slice each one lengthwise in half, or in quarters if
very large; then cut crosswise into half-round or quarter-round slices, about
½ inch thick.
Put the slices in a saucepan with water just to cover and 1 ½ teaspoons of
salt per quart of water. Heat to a simmer, and cook the potatoes for 5 to 6
minutes, or until just cooked through. It is essential that they be just
cooked through. Bite into a slice or two to be very sure. Immediately remove
from the heat and drain the potatoes into a colander, but save a cup of the
cooking liquid for dressing the potatoes. Transfer the potatoes to a large
bowl. Stir the cider vinegar with 1/3 cup of the potato water or chicken
stock and drizzle this over the potato pieces, turning them gently to
distribute it evenly. Let sit 10 minutes to absorb the liquid.
Add the prepared onion, celery, bacon, pickle, hard-boiled eggs, and chives,
and season carefully to taste. Top with 2/3 cup of mayonnaise (or a mix of
mayonnaise and a bit of sour cream) and, with a large rubber spatula, gently
fold everything together until well blended. Taste the salad and add more
salt, pepper, or mayonnaise as needed.
Cover the salad and set aside in the refrigerator for at least an hour or so
before serving. If it is refrigerated longer, let it come back to room
temperature before serving. Taste and adjust the seasoning again.
To serve, line a bowl or a platter with red-leaf lettuce or other greens, and
mound the salad on top. Decorate at the last moment, if you wish, with any
or all of the optional garnishes.