Grandma’s classic potato salad

7 Jul

I always used to call my mom and ask her to read me my Grandma’s potato salad recipe. And then I’d count out the prescribed number of green onions or pounds of potatoes dutifully.

But recently, with my gluten-free diet’s forcing me to make rash substitutions and daring alterations to beloved recipes, I discovered a freedom to experiment—and improve—on this simple potato salad. It’s a classic at least once a year—whether for Memorial Day, Labor Day, or the Fourth of July—and, this year, I’m still enjoying leftovers from my rained-out Independence Day picnic.

In generously salted water, boil nearly 5 pounds of red potatoes until soft. Remove from water and cool. In a separate pot, hard boil 10 large eggs, cool under cold running water, and refrigerate.

Next, mince approximately 2 bunches of green onions and one large jar of Vlasic kosher dill pickles. (My grandmother’s original recipe calls for a small jar of dill relish, but one stressful afternoon, as I stood in the condiment aisle at Jewel and, panicking, called my mother to ask her to access the Internet and check the gluten-free status of various relish brands, I defaulted to the jar of Vlasic dill pickles, guaranteed gluten-free on the company’s Web site. And although I’ve since found gluten-free relishes, I’ve continued to chop whole dill pickles. The larger-than-expected, crunchy chunks of pickle give this salad a unique texture.) Retain the liquid left in the pickle jar.

Peel the hard-boiled eggs, rinse, and then slice each egg in half. Discard the yolks. (This alteration to the recipe eliminates the sour flavor and crumbly texture of the yolks for a delicious, smooth salad.) Chop the eggs coarsely. Then peel the potatoes and chop into medium-sized pieces.

In a large bowl, gently stir all ingredients together with a generous amount of Hellmann’s Best mayonnaise. (The jar’s label actually includes the words gluten-free!) To increase moisture, spoon in approximately 4 to 5 tablespoons of the liquid from the pickle jar. Salt and pepper to taste, and refrigerate for several hours. Then dish it up at a summer picnic to enjoy with 8 to 10 family members—including, especially, grandma.

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