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Cooking for a crowd and serving up summer dishes from the grill? Try this potato salad. The secret is in the dressing, and it yields all of the flavor you are looking for as an accompaniment to burgers on the grill or amazing grilled chicken drumsticks. Here in South Carolina, our weather has turned from a warm and breezy spring to just plain HOT, and this even before Easter! Many a night so far this season has been spent focused on quick weeknight meals from the grill rather than turning on the oven, and with ingredients I've picked up at our local Farmers Market. I've built this method of potato salad using a hot dressing from an old Pennsylvania Dutch method traditionally used for sweet and sour onions. I added mayonnaise to the dressing once cooled, and chopped hard boiled eggs to the potatoes to bulk it up, and the result is simply fantastic. I sincerely hope you will attempt this recipe and enjoy!
Ingredients for A Hearty Penna-Dutch Potato Salad
6 medium red potatoes, washed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch, or 2 - 3 teaspoons arrowroot
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup white vinegar
5 ounce can evaporated milk, or 4 - 5 ounces coconut milk if preparing dairy-free ***a good friend prepared this recipe using coconut milk, and it was identical in flavor and texture and consistency, but may take just a little longer to set up
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 cup salted butter or ghee ***technically, ghee is not dairy-free because it is butterfat. It is however lactose-free, so if you are avoiding dairy, ghee is a safe option
1 cup mayonnaise
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery, about 3 to 4 stalks, leaves reserved
6 hard cooked eggs, chopped
Begin by quartering the potatoes and placing them in a large pot. You may peel the potatoes, however I love the look of this salad with the beautiful red skins left on. Cover the potatoes with water and boil. Once the potatoes have come to a boil, turn the heat to medium and cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a wide saute pan, crack the eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour in white sugar. Now place the saute on a burner set to medium low heat and continue to whisk the eggs and sugar together gently. Add the corn starch and whisk. Next add the white vinegar and continue to whisk. This dressing should be thickening as you are whisking. You may need to adjust the temperature of the burner so as to give the correct amount of heat to hasten thickening. Continue over medium low heat with the addition of the evaporated milk, the prepared mustard, and the butter, whisking in each ingredient thoroughly and completely before adding the next. Once mixture is thick and bubbling slightly, remove from heat. Add salt to taste. Using a rubber spatula, scrape into a Pyrex and refrigerate.
Using the saute pan, spoon half the potatoes into the saute and mash slightly using a potato masher or the back side of a spoon. Dice the remaining potatoes into smaller bite sized pieces. Combine all potatoes into a mixing bowl and toss with the chopped hard cooked eggs, chopped onion, and chopped celery. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Let cool some more.
Remove the dressing from the refrigerator and whisk in the mayonnaise. Dressing may still be slightly warm and this is okay. Pour over potatoes and really stir to combine well. Taste for salt or pepper. Cover and refrigerate for several hours to meld flavors. This salad gets better the longer it sits.
Garnish the salad before serving with the reserved celery leaves. These can be chopped finely or torn to maintain the integrity of the leaves. Not only do they taste amazing added at the end, but they are pretty!