Category Archives: Food Matters

Potato Salad For People Who Hate Potato Salad

Tri-color Potato Salad is nothing like potato salad as you know it.

I love potato salad. Some people don’t. While I don’t pretend to understand them, sometimes they must be catered to. After all, they have feelings too.

I make a few killer potato salads, frankly. For a while I was doing this yogurt dill thing with red potatoes, corn on the cob, sometimes radishes, little green peas. Or German Potato salad. Do you know why it tastes so good? Because you fry the onions in bacon fat. Seriously.

My grandmother made used to run a set of rental cabins along with a tavern she and my grandfather owned in Wausau, probably in the 1950’s. Mostly guys who worked as loggers, I think. According to my mother, each week she backed rye bread and laid it out to dry, crushed it into bread crumbs, and used it to coat fish for Friday fish fry. She served the fish with a side of German potato salad for some ridiculously low price like 55-cents. My grandmother, as I knew her, was a terrible cook, with the exception of apple crisp. But I like to think of her when I make potato salad. When I make German Potato salad, I never fuss with the recipe. I follow the Joy of cooking to the letter.

The Potato Salad for People Who Hate Potato Salad is actually called Tri-color Potato Salad and it is from one of my favorite cookbooks, the benignly named Prairie Home Cooking (no relation to the Companion). Despite the milque toast title, I love it, because it includes recipes of European settlers and immigrants of the midwest. The recipes are consistently great, and use local, seasonal ingredients, mostly, as they were the dishes of immigrants who were exploring with foods that were hardy enough to survive transplanting and thrive in their new homes. I’ve not made a clunker from it yet.

I used some teeny, tiny potatoes from Trader Joe’s, which I love, but red potatoes, as called for in the recipe, are fine. Make this, and you will make the haters happy.

New potatoes or teeny tiny potatoes
Green beans
Tomatoes, diced or cherry
Red Onion, chopped (optional)
2 parts olive oil to 1 part white wine vinegar, or lemon juice
Italian Parsley

Cook the potatoes in boiling water, and when they have about 5 minutes left, throw in the green beans. When all is tender, but still holding together, rinse and drain. Whisk together vinaigrette, adding parsley at the end. Put potatoes, green beans, tomatoes & onions in a bowl, pour the  vinaigrette over, toss and chill.

(since I’m printing without permission, I’ve left off most amounts. If you’d like the complete recipe you can find it. Or you can wing it, since the proportions are basically to taste.)