Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dilly Potato Salad

(Printable Recipe)

Two things make this potato salad prep unusual, but account for it being one of the best I've ever tasted. First, the potatoes are not boiled, they're baked just long enough to keep them firm but dry enough to soak up the flavorful dressing. Second, that flavorful dressing gets its flavor from dill pickle juice and chopped baby dills instead of relish. There are other winning elements to this recipe, but I think those are the two biggies. I must give credit to my sister-in-law, Gigi, for teaching me this method. At least once, try this recipe exactly as it's written and then, hey, have at it and experiment with alterations all you'd like! 
Use Idaho baking potatoes only. 
Wash 6 large potatoes, not the monsters the size of a huge zucchnini, just good sized bakers. Dry the, but don't peel them yet. Wrap each one tightly in foil to hold in the steam and bake at 350. Don't skip this part because unwrapped potatoes get too dry and mealy and will fall apart. Set the timer for about 40 minutes to check their doneness and at the same time,  put on a pan of 6 eggs to boil.
Just barely cover eggs with water.
For perfectly cooked boiled eggs, just barely cover cold eggs with water, top with a lid and bring to a boil. Check closely after 10 minutes or so and remove from the heat as soon as the water boils. Leave them covered and set a timer for 20 minutes. And let's make the dressing now while everything cooks. I like to put it together ahead of time to sit and meld flavors for a little while.
Add 3 TBS Dill Pickle Juice to 1/2 Jar Real Mayo 
In your largest bowl, whisk together the mayo and dill pickle juice. Or if you happen to have only 1/2 jar of mayo left you can do the whisking and mixing right in the jar. Chop 6 baby dills and add these to the dressing also. I use the baby dills because they're usually more crisp and firm than larger pickles, and are virtually seedless.
6 baby dills or 1/2 cup chopped dill pickle (NOT relish)
At this point, if the eggs have been sitting for 20 minutes in the hot water, drain them and stop the cooking by refilling the pan with cold water. You should be rewarded with lovely yellow perfectly done eggs devoid of that ugly green ring around the yoke. They will peel fairly easily if the eggs were at least 2 weeks old, otherwise, get those peels off however you can and chop into fine dice.
Boiled eggs will peel easily if they're at least 1 or 2 weeks old. 
Careful! Peel the foil with tongs so they can cool enough to handle.
Check the potatoes after 30-40 minutes. It's important to get them out while they're still firm enough to be cut into squares. Test this by sticking a sharp knife in and lifting.  If the potato slides off the knife slowly or barely slides at all it's probably done enough. When cooled about 30 minutes, the skins will scrape right off with a small knife.
Cube them in 1 inch squares so they will hold together better. Dicing too small may leave you with crumbles. While the potatoes are still warm, add to your largest bowl along with the eggs and fold the dressing in gently with a rubber spatula. No vigorous metal spoon stirring here so you don't end up with some weird mashed potato mess!

If you have fresh dill, snip the dill over all, salt well, and fold again. Garlic chives are another excellent addition to snip in with scissors, or you could use finely chopped sweet onion instead, preferably Vidalia. (If you don't grow your own dill the cheapest way to buy it in the store in summer is NOT in those expensive little fresh herb plastic packages. Look for big bunches of it near the parsley or pickling cucumbers and it's often just $1 or so.)

SummerSoiree is on at the Food Network blogsite! Stay tuned each week for fresh ideas for your finds at the Farmer's Market or delicious dishes for picnics and parties all summer long. Get more recipes here from friends and family:

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