Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Dinner: Potato Salad Edition

Did I really not post anything after last week's Sunday Dinner post?!? Oops. In my defense it was a very busy week.... :)

I love potato salad. It is, hands down, my favorite side dish for bbq, burgers and other summer fare (although I’ll eat anytime of year).  My undying love for this dish stems from the homemade recipe I grew up eating at my grandmother’s house in Tennessee. It is such a family favorite that she makes it for every family occasion—Thanksgiving, Christmas, any gathering really. It is the gold standard of potato salad in my eyes and what I hold all others up against.  Unfortunately this makes me incredibly picky when it comes to potato salad—if it’s not as good as what I’m used to, I’d rather not eat it. It’s actually gotten to the point where I almost don’t even order it when offered at restaurants anymore (usually I let Jason order it and then I taste it to determine whether I would eat it or not—eight times out of ten the answer is no.)

You are probably asking yourself—why doesn’t she just get the recipe from her grandmother and make it herself if she loves it so much?! Believe me, I would if I could. But the fact of the matter is, my grandmother doesn’t have a recipe. She just makes it. Both my mother and I have (on separate occasions probably 20 years apart) watched her make it and tried to write down the proportions of the ingredients she uses so we could make it on our own. The problem is, it never turns out quite the same. So we’ve both given up trying to replicate it (same goes for her macaroni and cheese recipe). That doesn’t stop me from looking at every recipe for potato salad I come across to see whether or not it sounds like what I grew up eating.

About a month ago I found a recipe that sounded pretty close and have eagerly been waiting for a chance to try it out. I decided that today was the day to give it a shot.  The recipe is not an exact match, but the result was good though definitely missing something. But it’s as close as I’ve been able to get to date. And that is pretty high praise!

Since I didn’t think we could dine on potato salad alone, I decided to make a marinated flank steak (so tasty—recipe is also below) and corn on the cob to go with it. A perfect near-the-end of summer meal, if you ask me.

Not My Grandmother’s Potato Salad (But Pretty Darn Close)
Adapted slightly from Cook’s Country

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes—peeled and cut into smallish cubes
1 ½ teaspoons table salt
3 TBL dill pickle juice, plus ¼ cup finely chopped dill pickles
1 TBL mustard (I used a grainy mustard because that’s what we had but the original recipe called for regular yellow mustard)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
½ small red onion, chopped fine
1 rib celery, chopped fine
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced

1.Place potatoes in a large sauce pan and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Bring to boil over high heat and add 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 10-15 minutes)
2.Drain potatoes and spread out a rimmed baking sheet. Mix 2 teaspoons pickle juice and mustard together in a small bowl. Spread over potatoes and toss to coat. Cool completely.
3.Mix remaining pickle juice, pickles, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, celery seed, mayo, sour cream, red onion, and celery in a large bowl. Toss in cooled potatoes, cover and refrigerate until well chilled (about 30 minutes). Stir in eggs just before serving.

Marinated Flank Steak
From Simply Recipes

1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBL red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon black pepper
Flank steak
Salt and pepper

1.Score the surface of the steak with ¼ inch cuts across the grain of the meat. Combine the first six ingredients (through the black pepper). Place steak in a large freezer bag and pour marinade over it. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
2.Preheat grill or broiler. If using the broiler, place the broiler pan in the oven for a few minutes to get hot. Take steak out of the marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.  Place steak on hot grill or broiler pan. Cook for about 4-6 minutes per side. Remove and cover with aluminum foil to rest.
3.After about 10 minutes, slice very thinly against the grain at a slight diagonal.

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