Posted by Mia | Posted in Picnic Food And Recipes, Recipes with Meat, Summer Picnic Ideas | Posted on 10-09-2012
What picnic is complete without potato salad? It’s the staple of picnic foods– the problem is though, it can be so — well, bland! A few extra ingredients, however, can turn potato salad into a palate-awakening experience and make it the star of the table. Try this savory/sweet potato salad at your next picnic, sure to be a refreshing change from plain old deli potato salad!
6 to 8 potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 medium onion
1 cup of cooked, chopped ham
1/2 cup of green sliced olives with pimentos, drained
3/4 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Before you start, put a large, metal mixing bowl into the freezer to chill it.
Select 6 large potatoes, or 8 medium sized potatoes. You can use baking potatoes, white potatoes or red potatoes if you prefer (or mix them). Put them out on your cutting board.
Peel them and slice them into about 1/2 inch cubes. Try to cut them as uniformly as possible so they will cook evenly.
Put them into a medium-sized pot and add just enough cold water to cover them. Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt to the water. Place it uncovered on medium-high heat on the stove.
Bring it to a boil; once the water boils, reduce it to a simmer and let them cook for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, gather the rest of your ingredients.
Important thing about the ham: it must be cooked, do not attempt to use raw pork products. I’ve purchased a package of pre-cooked, cubed ham for convenience. You can get ham steaks and cut them up, or use your own leftover baked ham (keep in mind whatever flavoring you put on it will influence the flavor of the potato salad).
Important thing about the olives: make sure they are sliced with no pits. You can use black olives, if preferred.
Cut the onion in half, then cut off the pointed end. Remove the paper layer and put the onion down on the cut side. Slice into the onion in 1/4 to 1/8 inch sections, stopping just short of the root.
Reposition the onion and the knife to slice thin slices across to dice it into small, even-sized cubes.
Dice the other half of the onion the same way. If you like, you can dice them even finer by chopping over the pile of onions with your knife.
Peel the apple with the potato peeler. Grate it on a coarse grater, turning it to avoid the core.
Dispose of the core when you’re finished. You can sprinkle a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar on the apple if you want to prevent it from browning.
Meanwhile, don’t forget your potatoes! One of the worse things you can do when making potato salad is make the potatoes too soft– you want them to be fork-tender, but you don’t want them to easily crumble and fall apart or you’ll end up with mashed potato salad.
When they’re ready, drain them over the sink immediately.
Run cold water over them or submerge them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and help cool them off more quickly.
Remember that bowl in the freezer? After you drain them, take out the bowl and toss them in there– it will help chill them more quickly. Put them in with the bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Once they’re reasonably cool, add all the other ingredients except for the salt and pepper. Dump in the mayo, the drained olives, the cubed ham, the grated apple and diced onions.
Look how colorful!
Fold the ingredients together. “Folding” is a cooking term that means mixing gently. The process starts with sliding the spoon or rubber spatula along-side the edge.
Slide the spatula down under the food to the bottom center of the bowl. Pull it gently up, lifting the food, almost flipping it over back toward the side of the bowl.
Give the bowl a quarter-turn and repeat the folding motion until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. This will help keep your potatoes from breaking up and falling apart.
Taste it, then add salt and pepper if you think it’s necessary. Remember, the ham and olives will impart a lot of saltiness so don’t automatically salt it without tasting it first.
You should have about 1 1/2 quarts of potato salad, and it will keep for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. This side goes great with sandwiches, fried chicken, burgers, hot dogs or just about any grilled meats and veggies.