Potato salad - is a salad made of cooked potatoes mixed with a variety of other ingredients including hard cooked eggs, onions, celery, mayonnaise and sometimes pickles. The German version is served warm or room temperature and includes bacon and vinegar based dressing and this is usually referred to as German Potato Salad.
Summer time is potato salad time in the U.S. A side dish of potato salad or cole slaw is ubiquitous in most BBQ joints and summer picnics.
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If you're not a big fan of potato salad or you'd just like an alternative you could go for one of these options:
As is the case with many recipes there are as many variations as there are cooks that prepare it. The one common ingredient is potatoes and it changes a lot after that. Even what type of potato to use can be controversial. In our family my mother used russet potatoes. My in-laws always used the waxier red potato and personally, I like Yukon Gold potatoes.
Some people add mustard (never in our family) as well as vinegar. I'm sure the use of both mustard and vinegar comes from the recipe's German roots. While some people use yellow onions, Italian versions often use red onion and it is not uncommon to see chives or scallions added. Many but not all tend to include hard cooked eggs. We always add chopped fresh Italian parsley but that would have been unheard of in my mom's recipe. Another common ingredient is dill. I love dill but I've never added it to my potato salad. Less common is the addition of black olives. That could just be something my husband prefers because frankly, he wants black olives in just about anything.
For reasons I can't document it is fairly common to top your potato salad with slices of hard cooked egg and a sprinkling of paprika. The paprika is I'm sure just to add some color and the egg slices, well, just decoration.
It's probably a rare delicatessen or grocery store deli that does not sell some variation of potato salad. Because recipes are so diverse you never quite know what you'll get in a deli potato salad so personally, I steer clear, but if you're throwing together a quick get-together and don't have time to make your own at least there is an option out there.
Potato salad became popular in the U.S. in the second half of the nineteenth century where it seem to pop up in every kitchen and delicatessen. Although I haven't found anything to confirm this; I suspect our cold, mayonnaise laden version really stemmed from the German Potato Salad version brought to us by German immigrants.