Tuesday, September 15, 2015

By Margie Summers

A little bit of St. Charles.
Our town, St. Charles, Missouri, is big on block parties. Last evening, the block I live on hosted one. The neighbors turned out in full force, each family contributing food and drink, plus kids, dogs, and friendly conversation. A very nice time was had by all, and I am looking forward to the next one. In case you, too, have a summer party to prepare for and are searching for recipes, here is the potato salad which served as part of my contribution to the festivities. I made it up, changing my mind many times about what I wanted to put in it, so feel free to vary it any way that suits you.


3 lbs red-skinned potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 to 1 lb bacon, fried to a crisp and crumbled
Bacon grease, reserved
1 large bunch green onions, sliced (or 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped)
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped bread-and-butter pickles (or just use sweet relish)
3 ribs of celery, chopped
4 to 6 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
Salt, pepper, celery seed to taste, and whatever seasonings you like and have on hand*
Miracle Whip 

*I also used a little of each of these: Penzey's Fox Point and Adobo Seasoning, plus some McCormick Smoky Sea Salt and Sweet Onion Sea Salt.

Start potatoes in cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes til tender-firm. (Don't overcook if you want well-defined pieces of potato in the finished salad.) While the potatoes are cooking, fry the bacon, boil the eggs (I boil mine about 20 minutes), and chop the veggies, storing each thing in the fridge as you finish prepping it.

When the potatoes are done, let them cool and then put them in the fridge for half an hour or so to get them nice and cold. Spread them on a baking sheet so they cool evenly.

Meanwhile, whisk a tablespoon or two of bacon grease into a cup or so of Miracle Whip, along with maybe 1/4 cup of juice from the sweet pickles or the relish. Add a bit of seasoning to that if you like... celery seed, salt and pepper, whatever else you're using in the salad. Then stir in bacon, onions, celery, and pickles (or relish) and return to fridge to let flavors blend.

When potatoes are chilled, remove from fridge and cut into bite-sized cubes. Place in large bowl. Season lightly with salt, pepper, celery seed, and whatever else you like. Toss gently to distribute seasonings. Grate or chop the boiled eggs and add to potatoes. Finally, add Miracle Whip/bacon/veggie mixture and toss thoroughly until potatoes are evenly coated. Adjust seasonings if needed. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve.   

NOTE: This is great to make the evening before and store in the fridge to let the flavors really blend and strengthen.