Friday, March 2, 2012

To Die in Potato Salad

When writing about my near-disastrous dinner party last week, I promised I would post the To-Die-For Potato Salad recipe.  My friend Eileen used that exact title when she sent me a copy of the recipe, scanned straight out of the cookbook. I'm sure it's a salad by another name but that just got changed! 

So here it is, folks. With, of course, my comments and photos  from this morning's market. By the way, this is not a French recipe. The French have potato salad but it's not made with a mayonnaise base. That is definitely American!

To-Die-For Potato Salad

1/2 lb. bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I used lardons since bacon is hard to come by here)
3 lbs. new potatoes
3 tsp. salt
6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1/2 chopped, green onions
1/2 C chopped dill pickles (for those of you in France, I've discovered that Cornichons Russe are pretty close)
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed (this I have never been able to find in France so I went without)
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. garlic salt (I never use this. I used 2 cloves of fresh, minced garlic)
1 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C white wine vinegar (I only had red wine vinegar)
1/4 C. hot water
3 T. sugar (sucre poudre in France)
2 T. Dijon mustard

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove to paper towels; reserve 1/2 C. drippings and set aside. (I had probably not even half that and it was still great)

Scrub potatoes and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water, add 2 tsp. salt, and bring to a a boil. Lower heat and boil gently until tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes, depending on the size. Drain, peel (I never peel potatoes mostly because the skins are so tender but also because this seems to freak the French out. They love to peel stuff), and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a large bowl;  add eggs, green onions, pickles, celery seed, 1 tsp. salt, pepper, garlic salt, bacon, and mayonnaise. Toss gently until combined. This can be refrigerated, covered, overnight.

In a small saucepan, heat reserved 1/2 C bacon drippings, vinegar, hot water, sugar and mustard. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil for 2 minutes. Pour over salad; toss gently. Serve warm or at room temperature. If serving at room temperature, the salad may be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Garnish with eggs cut into slices or wedges, bacon and parsley, if desired.

Serves 8

So the big question is, why can't I find celery seed in France?  Especially with these spice markets to choose from everyday!

My translation would be graine de céleri but perhaps that's not correct. And supposedly they're grown in France. Anybody know the answer to this conundrum?

Bon Appétit and Bon Week-end!


Recipe from The Year Round Holiday Cookbook by Marlene Sorosky. The book is out of print.


  1. Sounds totally yummy.

    You can buy sel de céleri which is made with celery seeds. If using it you can just leave out the extra salt.

    Otherwise have you tried one of the foreign food stores? We have a Mondial Market in Montpellier. Next time I'm there I'll look out for celery seeds.

  2. I always use a German potato salad recipe but I will certainly give this a try, it sounds delicious.

    Firstly I always have celery in my garden, but when it is in between as it is at the moment I just buy it in the supermarket! I have not had a problem but maybe it is only at certain times of the year. Diane

  3. OK I read this wrong, edible celery seed I am not so sure about, I do have celery salt but I guess that is not the same. Perhaps I should let mine go to seed in the garden! Diane

  4. I've been craving potato salad ever since you mentioned it last week. Love the addition of bacon fat dressing at the end. I'll definitely give it a try. And love the photos of your spice markets. We have an herb, spice, and tea shop in Galena and everything has to be "sealed up tight" or Americans get freaked out. Wish we could display them in the European manner!

  5. My ancestors must definitely have been French - we put lots of mustard in the potato salad. Yum. (in the US it is referred to as southern style.) But your spice market pics are wonderful. I could almost smell the aromas.

  6. I love potato salad Delana. And make it differently every time...sometimes with creme fraiche and mint, other times hot with mustard and of course, heavy on the mayo.
    I'm going to add yours to my repetoire!

  7. I love potato salad and use a recipe from my husband's aunt but I like yours with the addition of bacon and egg - must try it! Thanks!

  8. Sarah-Thanks and I'll check My American Market. But Wikipedia says that this is produced in France!

    Dianne-No, celery salt is not the same. I can't figure this out.

    Patricia-Oh you live in in Illinois?! What a beautiful town. Yep, the spices are out for all the world to paw through. It's a bit of a disaster however, when the wind comes up. After that, you don't know what you're getting!

    Aidan-I know. I make potato salad differently everytime. I eat it all the same way. In great quantities.

    Miss B-I love using old, family recipes.I have a Christmas cookie recipe from my great grandmother that I never change. EVER!

  9. Delana, Yes, Galena IL. Have you been here? If so you may have been in our shop. Opened it in 1981. Long time, and about ready for a change. Gee...France sounds interesting!


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