Martian Food
Sep 18, 2015

The Martian will be in theaters on October 2nd, and the critics are saying it is a spectacular film. The novel,&n

Nancy's Potato Salad

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Yield: Feeds at least 12 people as a side dish

Source: Marcella's Mom

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5 lbs. russet potatoes
⅔ cup sweet onion, minced
4 stalks celery, minced
¾ of a 30 oz. jar mayonnaise (We know, we know—you will have extra)
4 Tbs. pickle juice (see note)
1 tsp. Lawry seasoned salt (or more to taste)
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper


Peel and quarter the potatoes - they should all be about the same size, so adjust for smaller or larger potatoes. Put the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, add some salt (about a teaspoon) and boil them until they are tender. Drain the potatoes, then put them in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain them again, and put them in the refrigerator until they are completely cooled.

Meanwhile, put the minced onion in a strainer and soak in a bowl of water for at least 20 minutes. Soaking the onions takes the bite out and makes them milder. Drain.

Make the dressing: Mix the mayonnaise, the pickle juice, seasoned salt and pepper in a bowl. Let sit for a few minutes, then taste - it should taste nice and salty.

When the potatoes are completely cooled, cut them into about ¾-inch pieces, and carefully mix them with the onions and celery. Add about half of the dressing, then as much more as you need to make the potatoes creamy. Save the extra dressing in case the potatoes are too dry after sitting overnight.


Lots of notes on this one.

This was Marcella's mother's recipe. She was a wonderful cook, but never met a recipe she couldn't completely ignore, and most of her dishes, including this one, she made up. So the proportions are approximate; you may have to play with it a bit to get it to your liking. And we know it's a lot of mayonnaise—pretend you're entertaining in the 60's.

Every potato salad recipe that you find will tell you to use waxy potatoes, such as red potatoes, since they will hold their shape and russets will not. Most of us don't like waxy potatoes, but if you do, go for it. But your potato salad will be very different than this and you will have to call it [insert your name]'s Potato Salad. The trick when you use russets is to cook them until they are completely tender, but not mushy. Start checking them after they have been boiled for 10 minutes—stick a knife in the middle; they are done when the knife meets no resistance.

A word about the pickle juice. We use the juice from Claussen Kosher Dill Spears (in the dairy case.) Accept no substitute.

These measurements will feed a large number of people. You can pretty much scale this recipe to feed fewer people (or more)—just reduce or increase proportionately.

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