Rooney’s Potato and Egg Salad

 

This is an old-fashioned Iowa potato salad; I don’t know where my mother got the recipe but it was a staple every Memorial Day and 4th of July.  I never knew that most people do not put eggs in their potato salad until I left home and made this for my friends.  In my foolish youth I thought I would try to modernize my mother’s recipe by reducing the number of eggs, salt, and using Dijon mustard – I was always sorry I tinkered.  But it can bear a few substitutions – scallions or shallots are fine for the red onion and red or yellow pepper can stand in for the green (but the green has more bite and is really the best).  And only Hellman’s mayo will do!

  • 2 pounds small red or Yukon Gold potatoes (any waxy potato will do)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ½ diced green pepper
  • 6-8 hard-boiled eggs, diced (not too small)

Dressing

  • 1 ½ c. Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons plain yellow mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender with skins intact.  Cool until they are slightly warm or to room temperature.  Assemble the onion, green pepper and eggs in a large bowl and slice the potatoes into it.

When making the dressing, in a medium bowl, add the mustard and vinegar to the mayonnaise gradually until it has some zip but neither flavor dominates.  Then add the salt and adjust the flavors again.  Then add three quarters of the dressing to the potato mixture and check for texture and consistency – sometimes the potatoes absorb the dressing more than others, so you need take care not to overdress it.

Chill before serving.

Note:  It is best to make the salad on the same day that you have boiled the eggs and potatoes, but you can assemble it a day ahead and refrigerate overnight and it’s great.

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Leeks and Parmesan, English Muffins with Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon

4 large eggs

1/4 c. light cream

1/4 c. coarse grated Parmesan cheese

1 medium leek, white and light green end only, rinsed and sliced thin

1 tsp. butter

2 English muffins

2-4 oz. Scottish smoked salmon

Cream cheese (not whipped)

Preheat a  medium/large skillet, preferably enamel coated cast iron, like Le Cruset, at medium heat.  In a bowl, break the eggs and add the cream and cheese.  Stir just enough to break up the yolks, but do not beat it – you should still be able to see chucks of pure yolk and white.  Add kosher salt and coarse black pepper to taste.  In the skillet, melt the butter.  Add the leeks and saute until soft, but not brown.  With heat on medium/high (medium for gas stoves) add the eggs and wait for at least 30 seconds (put the muffins in the toaster now) before stirring – use a spatula and be gentle so that the eggs do not get tough.  Continue to pause and turn until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

Plate the eggs and spread cream cheese on muffins; top with smoked salmon and serve with coffee, grapefruit juice and the morning paper.