I know I’m a little late to the party, but Please Pass the Peas finally joined Instragram (@pleasepeas, in case you want to follow along).
Lately, my feed has been nothing but pictures of other people’s vacations: Hawaii, Maine, Michigan. Sun everywhere.
Not here though. Here the rain is pouring down, the lights are flickering and I’m racing to get this post up before the internet goes out.
Fortunately, we had much better weather for our own vacation a few weeks ago. We stayed in a beach condo owned by the parents of some friends and did nothing but swim, read and play board games for days.
Oh, and eat. We ate a lot.
Corn on the cob, chocolate chip cookies, plates of heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with sea salt and fresh dill, peaches, blueberries, butter beans with a spoonful of locally-made chèvre stirred in, takeout Thai food, watermelon, soft serve ice cream, okra and a simple potato salad that I made ahead of time and took with us so we’d have some home-cooked food on our first night of vacation.
For the most part, this is a pretty basic potato salad recipe. I add green olives for a little briny punch and pickled red onions, which I always have leftover from our frequent bahn mi nights. Sometimes, I throw in a few chopped hard boiled eggs too, if I happen to have them on hand.
I used to think that the best way to cook potatoes was to leave them whole and then chop them after they were finished cooking. But then I heard a recording of an old interview with Julia Child talking about potato salad. She said she cut up her potatoes first, so now I do too — because who am I to argue with Julia Child?
I also dress the potatoes while they are still hot. I’m sure there are some food safety experts out there tsk tsking at the idea of adding steaming potatoes to a mayonnaise-based dressing, but I do it every time.
I’ve read that doing so can cause the potato salad to get oily, but I’ve never experienced that, probably because I use significantly less mayonnaise than many other recipes.
This potato salad is the kind of easy, make-ahead recipe that’s perfect for the last fleeting weeks of summer.
Here are a few other ideas for lazy summer evenings, whether you’re actually on vacation or just wish you were:
And last but definitely not least, Southern Banana Pudding.
This recipe calls for pickled red onions, which are super simple to make but a couple of thinly sliced scallions would probably be a fine substitute.
In fact, all of the add-ins are flexible. Try capers instead of olives, dill instead of parsley (I would use less dill) or add some celery or chopped cornichons for extra crunch.
Make sure to start the potatoes in cold water. They'll cook more evenly that way.
- 2 pounds new potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces (I like Yukon Gold best but often use a mix of different varieties)
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped green olives
- 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup diced pickled red onions
Put the cubed potatoes into a large pot and cover with plenty of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, cider vinegar, ground mustard, sugar, salt and several grinds of pepper.
Drain the potatoes and combine them in a large bowl with the dressing, olives, parsley and pickled onions. Chill before serving.