Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Potato Salad -- in a Hurry

Potato Salad with a Chive Flower
Potato salad is one of my favourite summer foods, but I almost always forget to boil the potatoes well ahead of time. (My middle name should be "Last Minute.") I had always thought that meant I would only have potato salad on weekends, but then I found a short cut!

Here's my simple recipe and my trick for speeding things up.


2 pounds potatoes (I prefer cleaned new potatoes, because I'm lazy, but you can choose whichever you prefer.)
2 eggs (I used three, but it was too much)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise-type salad dressing
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped red onion
fresh chives for garnish


1. Prepare your potatoes. Because I use tiny, new potatoes, that just means chopping them into large-bite-sized chunks. Note: it's important that the potatoes be in small chunks, or the remaining steps will take longer.

2. Place your potatoes and eggs in a pot and cover with salt water. (If you want to get fancier, you could add the eggs only for the last 8 minutes of cooking. Use your timer accordingly.)
(I used three eggs; it was too much.)
3. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to a steady simmer. Set timer for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: combine salad dressing, celery, and onions in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
Stir them up before you pop them in fridge, so the flavours will mingle.
5. When the timer goes, test the potatoes with a fork. Depending on the size of your chunks, they may need longer. When the potatoes are tender, drain them and rinse with cold water.

Rinse until they stop steaming. (The eggs are under the potatoes in this picture.)
6. Now here's my trick: prepare a cold bath for the potatoes. Fill a large serving bowl -- it needs to be larger than your colander -- with ice and toss in some salt.
A bowl full of ice.
1/2 teaspoon of salt
The salt is important: it actually keeps the water even colder than ice-water alone would. My physicist husband tells me this is absolutely true.

7. Place the colander of potatoes and eggs in the serving bowl and fill it with water. It should look like this. (The ice-water bath is recommended for eggs as well.)

Let the potatoes sit in the ice water for about five or ten minutes, then remove the colander, but leave the potatoes in it! Dump out the ice water and put the colander back in the bowl.

8. Put the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes or as long as you can -- just before serving.

9. To prepare, lift the colander out of the bowl, pour out any water that drained from the potatoes, and dry the bowl.

10. Place potatoes and the dressing mix together and fold* together. Garnish with fresh chives, if available. (Chive flowers, by the way, are edible.) (I didn't eat mine, but it did make me happy to see it on my plate.)


This made enough to serve five adults and still have leftovers (which are perfect for lunch the next day or a midnight snack).

* Folding ingredients is done when one or more of the elements is fragile -- in this case, the potatoes. To fold, place your spoon under the ingredients and lift them over the top. Do this several times, rotating your bowl, until the mixture is pretty consistent. Do not use a stirring motion, or it will break up your potatoes.


  1. I am seriously drooling all over the computer. love potato salad -- and great tip about the ice water bath - I never knew that.

    1. I "invented" the ice-water bath in an emergency. :)


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