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Tips for making potato salad

There are over 5,000 varieties of potatoes grown worldwide but, in the Philippines, little is known about such varieties. You won’t find labels like “Russet” or “Yukon Gold” in the markets or supermarkets. We go by size. The small ones are pearl (or baby) potatoes and, like the medium-sized ones (smaller than the average fist), they are waxy and good for stews. The large potatoes are more starchy than waxy and they are best for mashed potatoes and French fries.

The ones in the photo above shown mixed with some kamote (sweet potatoes) are the waxy kind. Like pearl potatoes, aside from putting them in stews, we like to boil them to make potato salad — with chicken, tuna, duck, turkey or, sometimes, just by themselves. With or without mayo.

But why is it important to choose waxy potatoes for making salad? Because they are firmer and they do not crumble when cut after cooking.

To prepare the potatoes, wash and scrub them under the tap. Place in a pot, pour in enough water to cover (you can add salt if you like), bring to the boil, lower the heat cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. To test for doneness, take a thin pointed knife (or a skewer) and pierce the thickest part. If it goes all the way to the center with no resistance, it is time to drain them.

Cool the potatoes before peeling and cutting.