Favorite Recipes: Mom’s Potato Salad
My mother was famous at certain potlucks for her shredded potato salad and certainly in our family it was something we all loved. At potlucks, we would look for Mom’s because we didn’t like the others.
She never used a recipe for this. A dollop of this and a plop of that.
I learned from watching her and then tweaking it on my own and now finally, here is the definitive Bertha Miller Shredded Potato Salad measured out and refined. You will see two places where it calls for “plus 1 tablespoon.” That is because I measured, then needed to add a bit “to make it taste right” or as most recipes say, “to taste.” So the key is after you have it all mixed up, taste it, add whatever you think is missing, etc. You may like just a bit more sugar, or milk, or salad dressing, or whatever.
The key is the shredded potatoes which help all the flavors blend together around the small potato surface (versus large blocks of big potatoes). Now, I can be a fan of some potato salads using larger chunks of potatoes—for a different slant and taste, like red potato salad with mayo—but Mom’s is a mixture of sweet and sour with crunch and deliciousness. Don’t use warm potatoes: the shredding or grating will turn them to mush.
And don’t miss my special hints at the end, especially if you have a kid (like I did, who shall remain nameless) that doesn’t like potato salad because of the mustard.
Bertha Miller’s Shredded Potato Salad
2 cups cold boiled potatoes (ends up as 3 cups shredded)
2 boiled eggs, cold
2 large stalks celery (1 cup chopped)
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup salad dressing, plus 1 tablespoon (my mother swears by Miracle Whip)
2 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼ cup milk, plus 1 tablespoon (or plop, as in the sound milk makes coming out of a jug)
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp celery seed
Shred cold potatoes. (I use a grater like this. A food processor may turn the potato to mush, I don’t know. I don’t own one.)
Grate the boiled, cooled egg.
Chop and add the remaining ingredients.
Mix all together.
Refrigerate. Often tastes better if you can refrigerate an hour or more.
Serves about 6 – 8.
* I still prefer to make this without using measuring devices because you save washing the messy measuring instruments.
* Anytime you boil potatoes for mashed potatoes, throw some extra in the pot to have for potato salad, or to slice and fry as a quick side for any meal. Or bake an extra or two when baking, to have cold potatoes on hand.
* If you have just a smidgen of left over mashed potatoes, you can add up to 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes to the potato salad recipe without making the end result too mushy. It stretches the potatoes you have on hand and uses up leftovers.
* If you have a child who just doesn’t like potato salad because of the mustard or whatever, you can accommodate their differences by saving 1/2 cup or more of the shredded potatoes and frying them like a small patty of hash browned potatoes.
* You can “doll up” (as my mother would say) almost any deli potato salad by adding a bit of sugar and vinegar to dial up the zing.
What was a dish you always sought out at potluck or reunion that your mother (or father) made?
Coming next week: my deviled egg recipe, just in time for Easter.