This, kids, is potato salad made with real taste-buds in mind.
You know those little plastic tubs you can get in the grocery store with the big chunks of potato and weird mayo/mustard mixture, maybe some pickles, but no taste? I really think some people out there think that’s all there is to potato salad.
I respectfully call them misinformed.
I have discovered over the years that the potato salad I grew up on isn’t necessarily what everybody else is making for their cookouts, or to take to Aunt Ruth’s Easter get together potluck. No, I don’t have an Aunt Ruth; example, y’all! And I have no idea the last time I attended a potluck.
Anyway, the main premise of this recipe came from my mother – I grew up on this and it was a staple at every single Thanksgiving (definitely), most Christmas get-togethers, and anytime in between I asked her to make it. By the way…have I told y’all the story of the “family dressing”. Dressing – as in Thanksgiving (If you’re from the North, I’m talking about stuffing, which is actually nothing like dressing).
From the time I was little, when my family would get together for Thanksgiving or Christmas, some years both, my mother, my aunt and my Nanny (grandmother) would all make dressing at the same time. This was an unspoken competition. Family members would get all panicky about who to compliment the most, because you knew damn well they were all waiting on the comments.
THEN, I would always get the phone call after I got home from Mother, “Tell me the truth, was mine better? Well, no don’t say that, Nanny’s was. Wait…Bootie’s (my aunt – it’s a nickname – let’s hope to God she doesn’t kill me if she reads this) was extra moist this time.”
“Mother, can you hang on just a sec, I dropped my Xanax.”
Truth is, they all make fantastic dressing. I, however, have not nailed making it. The three of them make it with their eyes closed and it comes out perfect every time. One of the great things about being southern.
So, back to the potato salad. I naturally adapted my mom’s recipe (loosely because she never measured – therefore going off of memory and pure taste) and just here lately decided, as delicious as it is, I want to play around and tweak it for fun.
Ok, fine, and to add some heat.
Would you expect anything else?
3 pounds red potatoes, washed and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cup mayo
1/2 block cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tbsp horseradish sauce (not prepared, but the sauce you find near the mayo)
1/4 Vidalia (yellow) onion, diced
1/4 cup hamburger sliced pickles, diced
1/4 cup green olives, diced
1/4 cup jarred pickled jalapeno slices, diced
4 bacon slices, crumbled (feel free to use more if you’re a bacon lover)
3 sprigs fresh Rosemary – stems removed
3 sprigs fresh Thyme – stems removed
Bring a dutch oven to a boil over high heat, drizzle with olive oil and add the potatoes. Boil until fork tender. If you have a stand mixer, it will definitely come in handy right now.
If not, use a large mixing bowl with a big ass wooden spoon.
Drain the potatoes and dump into the mixer (or bowl). Add the rest of the ingredients and combine on “stir” for just a minute or two – we don’t want mashed potatoes.
Salt and pepper to taste – do not leave this part out.
The combination of mayonnaise, cream cheese and horseradish sauce definitely makes this a creamy dish.
I LOVE the fresh herbs in this; the woodsiness of the Rosemary stands out, and since the Thyme is fresh, it’s much less pungent than its dried counterpart and can really go well with all my spiciness.
And, seriously, you have to love the bacon.
Make it crispy!