Going beyond potato salad

Potato salad

Well, by now you’ve probably heard it, but if you haven’t, here’s the digested, pun intended, story about it. A few months ago on Kickstarter, the crowdfunding website for entrepreneurs, a fellow named Zach Brown from Ohio was looking to raise investment capital for making potato salad. He had no business plan, and, in fact, wrote “Basically, I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet. It might not be that good, it’s my first potato salad.”

All joking aside, about five days later, Zach Brown had raised over $70,000 for a potato salad product that didn’t even exist, and produced by someone who had never made potato salad, no less. Therein, my friends, lies the true popularity of potato salad in America.

But here’s some information that Zach Brown could use when he begins to create his potato salad recipe or recipes. It starts with picking the right potato for potato salad, and here’s our suggestion. You can’t mess up if you stick with Yellow or Red Potato varieties. Because of their high moisture content, the potatoes will taste better when served cold and they’ll have the right texture when you slice, dice or chop your potatoes. Next, Zach will need to determine if he wants to have any skin in the game. Literally. If he leaves the skin on, he’ll need to make sure the tubers are thoroughly washed and scrubbed.

Our guess is he’ll probably opt for a creamy versus vinegar-based recipe. The creamy version typically is made with mayonnaise, but many people are substituting the mayo for yogurt or sour cream. The vinegar version is usually made with cider vinegar, vegetable oil and sugar.

Because we don’t know how Zach is going to cook the potatoes, although he should cut them into chunks, boil them for 10-15 minutes, let them cool off and them refrigerate them, let’s talk about some of the ingredients he might want to consider putting into his $70,000 recipe.

Let’s start with the possibilities for the creamy dressing; they include mayonnaise, yogurt or sour cream and prepared horseradish sauce, and any variety of mustard from yellow to stone-ground to Dijon. Then there is the liquid; these could be lemon juice, pickle juice or pepper sauce. Now Zach will need to move on to the spices; there is salt and pepper, dill, chives and parsley, and then he should consider sage, tarragon, rosemary, basil and thyme for some extra flavor.

Finally, it’s time for the add-ons, and this will either separate him from the pack or relegate Zachary to mediocrity. He will have many add-on choices that can really turn the potato salad into a $70,000 work of art. These ingredients might include the basic additions like hard-boiled eggs, celery, capers and pickles. Zach might want to kick it up a notch by adding pimentos, artichokes, olives and onions. But he could also go crazy and add cheddar cheese, maybe some feta, some nuts and, of course, bacon.

Whatever Zach does with his newfound seventy grand, one thing is for certain, potato salad reigns supreme.


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