Summer gives me all sorts of feelings. I hate the heat. I hate the humidity. I hate the beach. I hate the sun. BUT I love outdoor eating. I love listening to Wilson Phillips (I have a thing about music and seasons). I love drinking cocktails out at a waterside bar. I love going on boats. And I love a good barbecue.
Every barbecue is different…the main course is always changing. Sometimes it’s hamburgers and hot dogs. Sometimes it’s just veggies. Sometimes you’ve got bratwurst. There’s often seafood. You never know until you show up, but you’re always happy. However, there is nearly always one staple there: Potato Salad. Of course, this potato salad is a chameleon. Everybody has their own recipe. Each family has one that has been handed down from generation to generation. It’s always evolving. What one person grew up with is different than what another person grew up with. Some people love it with a vinegar-y sauce, some like the mayo, others love it warm. There isn’t one specific recipe for potato salad that everyone can agree on and say “That’s the one!” It’s not possible. It’s a personal experience.
Knowing this, I can predict that this won’t be the first potato salad recipe I include on here.
Lance loves potato salad. As do I. I generally love anything that involves a potato. Growing up, my dad always made a hot german potato salad. It was delicious. No mayo. It was warm, had bacon and eggs and some other stuff. And it was fantastic. Especially when it was hot. Yet, surprisingly, that is NOT the potato salad recipe I am sharing with you today. This is a spin on the recipe for Lance’s mother’s potato salad. Mostly because we JUST came back from a trip down to New Orleans and I was craving it.
Back when we were down there, I requested to learn her gumbo. Everyone always went on about it. And over the many times I had enjoyed Phyllis’ cooking, I had never ONCE been able to sample her famous gumbo. So this last time we went, I finally sampled it. It was simply divine. And I learned how to make it. But I also learned how she makes her potato salad. It’s actually pretty straightforward. In fact, quite similar to how I would make a quick potato salad at home. Yet when you watch a seasoned cook make something you notice things.
First off, other than the potatoes, any other addition was pretty small. This meant that everything would mix in well. You’d always be sure to get chunks of potatoes and not get a giant spoonful of onion or pickle. The second thing, and most important, I think, was the sauce. She saved the egg yolks for the end. They were mashed up and mixed with mayonnaise and pickle juice. Just like making deviled eggs (except a lot runnier). That whole “sauce” gets poured over the potatoes and the pickles and the scallions and the egg whites and you have a deliciously creamy potato salad.
Of course, when I watched her make this, there were not measurements. Always “about this much” and “a little of that” and “cut like this.” So, for you, blessed people of the world, I measured it all out for you. And because, I couldn’t really make something without putting my own little twist on it, I added in some favorite ingredients. Bacon and garlic. I don’t think I will get any complaints.
So without further ado: potato salad.