For me, nothing beats a great huge bowl of Southern-Style Mustard Potato Salad. It’s comfort food for the summer in the same way macaroni and cheese is in the winter. There are several tricks to making really good potato salad…I mean potato salad that melts in your mouth…like the kind my friend Jack makes. Oh, he’s all modest about it, but there is none better than his potato salad. None.
Jack is pretty well-known around these parts for his potato salad. Back when a group of us used to cater the food for Troutfest, I’d make pasta salad (about 150 pounds) and baked beans (9 gallons worth); Jack would make his potato salad (a bazillion gallons). He’s often asked to bring it to potlucks too, since everyone loves it.
One of the great things about Jack, beside the fact that he’s handier than a pocket, is that Jack shares. Jack shares everything (well, almost everything…I’m sure he’s got some fishing tricks he keeps to himself and that’s another story altogether, since Jack is the best fisherman around these parts – and that is saying something). Anyway, Jack shared his tricks with me for great southern-style mustard potato salad. I’m sure he won’t mind if I pass them on. That’s Jack…you gotta love him…and I do. So will you, when you make some of this potato salad using his tips.
First of all, you really need to use a starchy potato. Russets are the best. Any potato that has a waxy texture, like Yukon Golds, won’t work right for this potato salad. You must have a potato that will almost, just about, but not entirely, fall apart in the salad. As Jack says, “You have to have that little nugget of the potato that remains intact.”
Secondly, the ratio of hard-cooked eggs is key. In all honesty, this potato salad is really egg salad that has some potatoes in it. This is what makes it great! The first time Jack was telling me about his potato salad, and he said that about the eggs, it all made sense! This single thing makes all the difference between good and great potato salad – lots of hard-cooked eggs.
Third, there is pickle in there…but it is not sweet pickle relish. It has dill salad cubes or dill pickle relish. Dill…no sweet. God, I love that man.
Fourth, there really isn’t a recipe for this potato salad, since somehow it changes every time you make it. I guess it depends on the potatoes, or the weather, or whether you’re holdin’ your mouth just right as you add ingredients. Sometimes it takes more or less mayonnaise…or the same for mustard. It’s not fussy…it’s just getting it to the right creamy consistency; not too dry, not so creamy it becomes runny, and just the right tart from the mustard. I’m giving you the measurements as I made it this time…and you can fiddle with it to suit your taste.
One thing I can guarantee, if you like potato salad, you’ll adore this potato salad.
ps: I shared this post on Summer Salad Sundays. Head on over there to see what other great salads have been shared!
p.p.s.: My friend Melissa, upon the advice of her husband, added dill pickle juice to the recipe. I have made it with this addition and it is WONDERFUL. I’ve added it to the original recipe.
- 1½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed, cooked in salted water until just falling apart, drained well in a colander, add back to hot pan to dry out some*
- 5 eggs, hard-cooked, peeled and smashed
- ¾ cup celery, diced (I use more, but I love the crunch)
- ½ cup onion, minced (I used red onion this time, but Vidalia works nicely)
- ½ cup dill salad cubes (or dill pickle relish)
- 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard (may vary to more)
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon celery seed (optional...and not in Jack's version)
- Place the potatoes, eggs, celery, onion and dill salad cubes into a large bowl.
- Gradually add the mustard and mayonnaise, stirring between additions.
- You don't want it too creamy, and you don't want it dry.
- Add salt and pepper, adjusting to taste.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you want it REALLY good, make it a day ahead...it gets better overnight.