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~ This Spud's for You: Game-On Baked-Potato Salad ~

IMG_6974When one lives in a college town associated with a big-time football program, one has honed the skills necessary to transition from the traditional Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities to ringing in the New Year with a bowl-game tailgate.  It's a tough job but somebody's got to do it, and, here in Happy Valley, PA, the home of Penn State's Nittany Lions, an entire community of fellow blue-and-white-clad cooks are capable of changing lanes with ease.  This year, it's gonna be deli-sandwiches and potato salad on our cocktail table in front of our lunch-timed game-day TV.  We'll serve our good-luck pork-and-sauerkraut for another school's dinner-timed game.

IMG_7017Pieracini's deli-sandwiches & my baked-potato salad.

IMG_6949I've got a favorite Italian, mom-pop-and-family-operated (since 1919) market in my hometown that makes game-winningly delicious hoagie sandwiches, right down to the home-baked Italian rolls they serve them on:  Pieracini's.  With a choice of traditional hoagie, beef, turkey (or an assortment of all three), there are 15-, 30- or 45-piece trays, but, if it's wrap- or pretzel-bread sandwiches you prefer, they too are options -- and reasonably priced.  For a small establishment their menu is big, with a selection of all-homemade hot meals, soups, salads and baked goods too long to mention.       

IMG_7034I won't lie, I am a potato salad snob -- most folks who like potato salad are.  That said, when it comes to potato salad recipes, I have several, using different varieties of potatoes and employing different cooking methods.  When it comes to making potato salad, the best tip I can give anyone is:  follow the recipe, as different potatoes usually require different cooking methods.  In this recipe, I save time by not peeling Russet potatoes, and, while they're "baking" in the microwave for 16-18 minutes, I hard-cook the eggs, chop the onion and celery and collect my spices and refrigerated ingredients.

Clock ticking down to kick off?  Game on with this game plan:

IMG_70705  13-14-ounce Russet potatoes

5-6  extra-large eggs

1  generous cup diced celery

1  generous cup diced yellow or sweet onion

8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) mayonnaise, + 1-2 tablespoons additional mayo, if desired, chilled

2  tablespoons Dijon mustard, chilled

2  tablespoons sweet pickle relish, chilled

1  teaspoon sea salt

3/4  teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

1/2  teaspoon celery seed

IMG_7055 IMG_7055 IMG_7055~ Step 1.  Rinse the Russet potatoes, and, using the sharp tip of a paring knife, pierce their skin in 4-5 spots. Microwave until potatoes are fork-tender, yet still-firm and slightly undercooked.  In my microwave this takes about 18 minutes.  Remove from microwave.  Slice the Russet into 1/2" - 3/4" discs, then, peel back the skins from the discs.  Slice the discs into 1/2"-3/4 chunks, placing them on a baking pan as you work.  Place the potatoes in the refrigerator for 8-10 minutes (or 30-60 minutes if you have the extra time) to quickly cool the potatoes to below room temperature.

IMG_7041 IMG_7041 IMG_7041 IMG_7041 IMG_7041~Step 2.  When potatoes go into the microwave, hard-cook the eggs (either via the link to my method or yours) as directed.  Do not overcook the eggs -- everyone detests those greenish-gray halos around the yolks. Peel and dice the eggs into 3/4" pieces and set aside.  Dice the celery and onions -- small or medium dice, your choice.  Set aside.

IMG_7073 IMG_7073 IMG_7073 IMG_7073 IMG_7081 IMG_7081 IMG_7081 IMG_7081~Step 3.  In a large bowl, using a large rubber spatula, stir together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sweet pickle relish, salt, pepper and celery seed.  Add and fold in the celery and onions, followed by the cooled potatoes, and, last but not least, the delicate eggs.  Add 1-2 more tablespoons mayonnaise to adjust creaminess, if desired -- I added none today.

Get the sandwiches & potato salad out, then turn on the TV:

IMG_6952The game's coming on so I gotta run & stick a fork in it:

IMG_7022This Spud's for You: Game-On Baked-Potato Salad:  Recipe yields 12 cups/3 quarts potato salad.

Special Equipment List:  paring knife; cutting board; chef's knife; large rubber spatula

6a0120a8551282970b01bb07cebeb8970dCook's Note: For potato salad recipes that suit several occasions, many cuisines and all seasons, check out my repertoire: ~ Spring-Forward Pea, Carrot & Potato Salad Olivier ~, ~ Lemony English Pea, Mint and Gold Potato Salad ~, ~  Baked Russet & Sweet Potato Salad w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~, ~ Roast Beef Eatin' Horseradish-Mayo Potato Salad ~, ~ Russian Red-Potato, Beet, Onion & Radish Salad ~, and, ~ The Gold Standard:  Creamy Gold Potato and Egg Salad ~.  

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)


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