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Since moving to Seattle thirty plus years ago, we have held a Fourth of July party almost every year without fail! We initially lived in a larger home and would invite families with kids, then host a potluck dinner with pickleball, lawn bowling, and games for the children. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and assigned guests to bring drinks, salads, and desserts. The buffet resembled a veritable feast! Typical of Seattle, the weather seldom cooperated and I remember one year in particular when the temperatures were in the 50s and everyone wore winter jackets. Regardless, these parties were always full of fun, fabulous people and food!
Seven years ago we moved to a condominium in the city. For a few years we continued to host a rooftop deck 4th of July party, and friends were able to view fireworks exploding from both Lake Union and the Space Needle. We no longer have such gatherings as this holiday has morphed into more of a family get together and we are often out of town. I do miss having these parties though and have not given up hope to reinstitute this great tradition.
I always asked my neighbor Valerie to bring potato salad. There are thousands of variations out there – warm potato salad, creamy, mayonnaise-based potato salad, vinegary potato salad, potato salad with every vegetable known to humankind. But Valerie’s is a very very very plain potato salad and it was always a hit and tasted delicious. It appeals to those (like me) who don’t like raw onions or pickles or a lot of “stuff” in their potato salad. So I’m sharing this with you, my readers. I believe the original recipe included some garlic salt and green onion too, but I pare it down to just the essential ingredients. You’ll need at least this much salt for the bland potatoes, by the way. And feel free to use this as a starting point – you can add pretty much anything to make this your own.
Perfect Picnic Potato Salad
- 6 medium, equally sized waxy, red potatoes – about 2 lbs total.
- 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
- 7-8 oz Best Foods Mayonnaise or homemade mayonnaise*
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 ½ -2 tsp table salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Paprika for the top if desired
Hard boil and peel the eggs. Cool completely.
Wash and cover the potatoes with water in a 3-4 quart sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover. Cook until a knife easily slides through the potato, about 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes to a bowl of ice water and when cool enough to handle, peel with a potato peeler. This should be simple to do. Refrigerate the potatoes and eggs. (I do this the day before serving.)
When eggs and potatoes are cold, slice the eggs (I have a handy little egg slicer that I use, but you can cut them any way you wish), cube the potatoes into ½ inch chunks and slice celery. Gently fold in mayonnaise a little at the time, and season liberally with salt and pepper. When ready to serve, put into serving bowl and dust the top with paprika.
This is the mayonnaise I make – it is super easy and so much better than store-bought! And it lasts for at least a week in your fridge.