Summertime State of Mind, Crimson Coward Potato Salad & Hot Chicken

Potato Salad

There’s nothing better than balancing our Nashville hot chicken with a side of our delicious potato salad. A classic side dish often found at BBQs, picnics, or really any summer or spring get together. Potato salad has found its own place in the hearts of people around the world. It adds a twist to one of the world’s favorite vegetables. Hello mashed potatoes, latkes, baked potatoes, hash browns, stuffed potatoes, French fries, potato skins and potato chips, need we say more? Potato salad is the perfect mix of creamy, comforting and tangy. Here at Crimson Coward, we even take it up a notch with a nice dash of cayenne pepper to bring in a kick.

Potato salad was originally made in Germany during the nineteenth century. In Germany it is traditionally made with a vinegar base. A difference between authentic German potato salad and American potato salad is that it is usually served warm. Have you ever eaten potato salad that was intentionally served warm? Would you still consider that a potato salad or would it be more of a side dish? Martha Stewart features a recipe for traditional German potato salad which includes the unusual ingredient of beef broth which she says is a must. Have you ever heard of adding beef broth to potato salad before?

Our potato salad is more of the American-style potato salad. Which is classically served cold and typically made with potatoes, mayonnaise, vegetables, herbs and spices. More health-conscious recipes would suggest a mayonnaise substitute such as yogurt. But the richness and flavor won’t be quite the same. There are also recipes that use non-dairy mayonnaise, so vegans don’t get left out of the potato salad love.

Other recipes get really indulgent calling for both sour cream and mayonnaise, even chopped hard boiled eggs, meat and/or bacon. In other variations, such as in French recipes, potato salad is said to be made by boiling potatoes with wine and dressed with vinegar, salt, onions, bacon, and oil.

In Russia the dish is called Russian Potato Salad or Olivier Salad.The name is a nod to the Belgian chef Lucien Olivier who created the dish in the late 1860’s. Olivier Salad can be described as hearty which makes sense considering the winters in Russia. Some of the other ingredients include carrots, dill, sweet pickles, hard-boiled eggs, peas and English cucumber. Have you ever had cucumbers in your potato salad?

On the other side of the globe in Japan, potato salad is served with potatoes that are mostly mashed with a few left in chunks for texture. Cucumbers, carrots, eggs and sometimes ham are added. Sound familiar? There’s a difference though, Japanese potato salad uses rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) and Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie) which uses only egg yolks. Japanese potato salads aren’t sweetened the way some American potato salads are.

American singer-songwriter and actress Patti Labelle is also famous for her potato salad recipe! Her extremely popular recipe calls for hard boiled eggs, celery seed, green bell pepper, sweet relish, and few other standard ingredients and, surprise, pickled jalapenos!

Many would argue that the best potato salad is the one that is made in the most authentic way, but truly, it’s all about personal preference and it all starts with the potatoes. Did you know that there are over 4,000 varieties of potatoes in Peru alone? Now, could you imagine how many variations of potato salad we could make? Do you prefer classic American style potato salad or one with more international flair?

When it comes to potatoes, you can’t go wrong with any type of potato. Still, there are still some that make the dish better than others. Overall, there are three types of potatoes: waxy, in-between, and starchy. If you’re debating between the three on a trip to the grocery store, waxy potatoes are your best bet. As they are thin-skinned, they have the least amount of starch and are able to retain their shape when boiled which makes them perfect for a potato salad.

New Potatoes, French fingerling, Red Bliss, baby potatoes, creamers, Red Adirondack, and Russian Banana are all waxy varieties of potatoes perfect for potato salad. Martha Stewart has a great guide to this exact topic! If you need an all-purpose potato then try Yukon Gold, white potatoes, or purple potatoes. She notes that the commonly available Russet, Idaho and red potatoes are your starchy potatoes, thank you Martha. Ask your local produce department or farmers market for their best potato suggestions depending on where you live and the season.

In-between potatoes are also a solid choice. Though they have more starch than waxy potatoes, they will still work in a potato salad. Lastly, if you like a mushier texture, starchy potatoes is what you need. Do you have any potato salad recipe secrets up your sleeve?