Over the weekend, we celebrated my dad’s birthday. We tend to spend our family occasions at home and cook a nice meal. On the odd occasion, we order take out Chinese food (which was always my birthday request growing up). I’ve learned to plan the meal ahead. I’ve got better at timing the things I’m cooking. Each time, the meal seems to come out a little bit better.
Dad’s birthday request was for steak. I got to choose the side dishes. So, I picked up some gorgeous sirloin steaks from The Bauer Butcher, fresh Ontario asparagus from Vincenzo’s (asparagus season is coming to an end soon, so I’m eating as much of this delicious vegetable as possible), and some potatoes for a potato salad. To top it all off, Nana made an amazing confetti cake (dad’s favourite).
BBQ Sirloin Steaks
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Now, would you be surprised if I told you that the highlight of the meal is the potato salad?
You see, it’s my nana’s recipe and a family favourite. Nana has made her family-famous potato salad ever since I can remember… and ever since dad can remember. I have fond memories of spending weekends with Nana as a child and there always being an amazing array of delicious home cooked food. And her potato salad is among my favourites (also check out some of her other recipes that I’ve deconstructed and posted, including Macaroni and Cheese Casserole and Asparagus Soup). As a child I flat out refused to eat potato salad. I claimed I didn’t like it. I especially didn’t like the pre-made potato salads from the grocery store and fast food restaurants (I still don’t really like most of them). However, Nana’s potato salad was the exception. Not only did I eat it, I would go back for seconds.
The “recipe” is another one that I’ve had to watch time after time to document. The vague directions call for potatoes (it doesn’t say how many), the oil and vinegar dressing is the only thing that is really precise. And that’s as long as you know that the recipe is for 5 servings.
This weekend, I made the salad under Nana’s supervision. The salad was very well received by my family! No complaints. No comparisons. No suggestions for next time. It was just like Nana’s. Hooray! Now I need to make it again without supervision to really put my take on the potato salad to the test.
What makes her salad so much better? So one, she serves it warm. I don’t know why, but this makes a difference in the flavour. Her salad is good as leftovers but is definitely best served and consumed fresh. Like, within an hour of making the salad. It has great sweet and sour flavours in the dressing. It’s smooth with delicious crunch pieces of fresh vegetables. It doesn’t take too much time or effort to make. It just tastes better. (And I don’t think it’s nostalgia making me say this!)
Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!
Nana’s Potato Salad
Adapted from her sister’s recipe
- 5 large potatoes (about 2 1/2 cups when cubed) – approximate cost $1.75
- 2 teaspoons sugar – approximate cost $0.10
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar – approximate cost $0.10
- 2 tablespoons salad oil (canola or olive oil works well) – approximate cost $0.10
- 3/4 cup celery, chopped – approximate cost $0.50
- 1/4 cup green pepper, diced – approximate cost $0.25
- 2 tablespoons green onion, sliced thinly – approximate cost $0.15
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper – approximate cost $0.05
- 1/2 (slightly heaping) cup mayonnaise – approximate cost $1.00
- Boil and drain the potatoes.
- Allow them to cool until they can be handled.
- Peel the potato skin.
- If you like the potato skins, skip this step. For my own salad, I would leave the potato skin on. Nana prefers the potato skins removed.
- Cut potato into bite-sized pieces.
- Combine sugar and vinegar, stirring constantly until dissolved.
- Add salad oil to the vinegar and sugar mix.
- Pour oil and vinegar mix over hot potatoes.
- Allow the potatoes to cool until lukewarm, about room temperature.
- Add celery, green pepper, and green onion pieces.
- Mix well.
- Add pepper and mayonnaise.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Serve and enjoy!
Makes 5 servings (approximate cost: $0.80 per serving).
Wednesday Link Parties