The Irish potato, such a humble tuber but versatile as well. There are other sites that have researched the history, discovery, transportation, importation, and collapse of this Irish staple. If the history of the Irish potato is your thing check them out. My interests are more personal and tasty, I wish to find the perfect Irish potato recipe. You would think this was an easy thing, but perfection is a slippery fish, not always easy to get a grip on.
One of the favorite things for this humble writer to check in on is a wonderful website that supplies enjoyable and informative stories of the Irish potato, or affectionately penned “Spud”. Every Sunday The daily spud skillfully writes an article which will have some reference to a spud, She sometimes has to stretch the spud connection to her story, but that makes for a bit of fun. She always has a recipe to try out, maybe one of the recipes on her site will be your Irish potato recipe of choice.
If the Daily spud hasn’t the perfect Irish potato recipe, check into Mairead’s site IrishAmericanmom.com, besides lovely stories of an Irish born American citizen, Mairead has lots of food receipts. I have to publicly thank Mairead for not only writing a guest post for Irelandfavorites but she went one step further and wrote a complimentary review of this humble blog as well.
My perfect potato recipe which will be listed at the bottom of this post is for the perfect potato salad. Now I first will try to end some cross cultural confusion. One of my favorite Irish stories deals with ordering a chicken salad and receiving a green salad with strips of chicken on it. Where in the States a chicken salad is cubed or shredded cooked chicken mixed with mayo and made into a sandwich. So an American potato salad is cooked waxy type potatoes mixed with spices and mayo, just wanted to make sure we didn’t get a green salad with strips of potato on it. There are a lot of American potato salads but there are two secrets that will guarantee yours will be the best.
My potato story can’t be classified as Irish potato salad being that I’m an American, but I believe any waxy type of potato will make a beautiful Irish potato salad as well. O.K. there are two secrets to making a perfect potato salad.
- The first secret is to place the waxy type potatoes unpeeled into a pot and bring the water to a boil then turn the heat down to a low boil, almost a simmer. There are a few hints to go along with this tip, try to have the same size potatoes so they will cook through evenly and be done at the same time, also the bigger potatoes don’t always soften up in the middle giving a crunchy unpleasant texture.
- The second secret is oil and vinegar based salad dressing, I use Ken’s caesar salad dressing, I used Pfieffer caesar dressing also, even Newmans own caesar is ok, if you cannot find a caesar dressing, any oil and vinegar based Italian dressing will work. The key is to cover the newly peeled potatoes with the caesar dressing while the potatoes are still warm.
So here goes American recipe to use with Irish potato or any nationality potato you wish.
In a large stew pot cover 2 lbs. to 3 lbs. of waxy potatoes with water, bring to a boil, turn heat to medium low and continue to slowly boil until a knife can be inserted into a tender potato.
Once potatoes are cooked through and tender, drain, pour cold water into pot and drain again, Take a knife and peel the loose skin off of the spud. The temptation will be to peel the potato ahead of time, do not do this, it takes more time to peel a hot potato with a knife but the end product is much nicer.
Cut the peeled potato into chunks, the centers should be the same consistency as the edges, if a larger potato’s center is grainy remove it. Once the chunks are placed in a serving bowl, cover the entire surface of the potato with the salad dressing, The key is to cover the potatoes but don’t leave a puddle of salad dressing in the bottom of the bowl. The warm potatoes absorb the dressing, let stand for ten or fifteen minutes.
It’s at this point you get to customize your potato salad. I normally cater to the majority of tastes and don’t get too spicy (though I love spicy additions).
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt or more to taste.
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or more to taste.
1 ounce of grated onion (I use a garlic press usually two squeezes is fine) the grating or pressing adds the onion flavor but doesn’t turn off kids who don’t like raw onion in chunks.
1 teaspoon basil, I like to grind it a bit by hand to make the dry herb smaller.
1/2 to 1 teaspoon celery salt.
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard.
Add mayonnaise to taste around a cup. Once you add the mayo turn over potatoes with a silicon spoon and fold gently until all pieces are covered.
I like to refrigerate the potato salad but the kids usually attack it while it is still warm. I’ve put this process of making potato salad up against all my friends mother’s recipes that have everything in it but the kitchen sink, in the end they are surprised they like this simple version better.
Great additions are garlic powder,onion powder, raw pressed garlic, red cayenne pepper(my fave), horseradish. These will tend to take control of the dish but nothing wrong with some punch.
Send your favorite Potato style or recipe along, like to see the versatility of the humble spud,