A Simple Summer Potato Salad Recipe + The 4th!
The Independence Days of my youth were pretty straightforward occasions. A neighborhood BBQ/potluck followed by a homemade fireworks display set up by the neighbor that we shared a backyard fence with. His “show” was staged from his sand horseshoe pit that was repurposed for the day. All pretty typical stuff. Yes, every child was required to have at least one sparkler!
A few years later, we upgraded from Mr. Nowicki’s amateur pyrotechnics to something one notch better; the fireworks display staged by the Glenwood School for Boys.
We would drive the two blocks to the school just so we could use the hood of the family car for seating. Both sides of Halsted Street were lined with cars, children perched on each hood in anticipation of the coming light shower.
Fireworks viewing was a common element of all of the 4th of July celebrations when I was young. But oddly enough, so was potato salad. No store-bought potato salad here (that wasn’t a thing for us). We’re talking REAL homemade potato salad! Yes, this means I’ve got a recipe for you!
My mom swore that this super easy potato salad recipe was from her mom (my grandmother). But I have zero memory of my grandmother ever making it, or even cooking for that matter. I’ll credit it to her, but my mom making it all summer long (especially on summer holidays) is the food memory I have of this 3-4 ingredient crowd pleaser. Enjoy!
THE BEST SUMMERTIME POTATO SALAD!
3 russet potatoes
3 hard-boiled eggs*
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
Mayonnaise (Hellman’s is the best for this)
Salt and pepper
📝 The night before you make this recipe, hard boil the eggs. Use whatever method you like, but this recipe works best when the eggs have been refrigerated overnight.
Fill a large pot with water. Bring to boil. Scrub potatoes, leave skins on. Add to pot. Boil for 25-30 minutes or until tender. When potatoes are cooked, cool them down (draining the water out of the pot and adding ice and cold water works great).
Chop the onion and set aside. When cooled, carefully peel the skins off the potatoes (a paring knife works nicely). Peel the hard-boiled eggs. If you have an egg slicer, use it to cut the eggs up. Slice them one way, rotate the egg 45 degrees and slice it the other way. That gives you pretty uniform egg pieces. If you don’t have an egg slicer, just give them a rough chop.
Now you’re ready to assemble. The ratio is one potato to one egg to ⅓ of the chopped onion. You’ll need to mix this in batches. Trust me. It just works better.
Cut one potato into ½ inch pieces and add to a mixing bowl. Add one chopped hard-boiled egg and ⅓ of the chopped onion. Add enough mayo to hold it together (not too much). Add salt and pepper to your taste and mix all together. Transfer batch to a larger bowl. Repeat the above step twice more using the same ratios with the remaining ingredients.
When all the ingredients have been combined and added to the large bowl, mix it all together one more time. Then, transfer the potato salad to a serving container and sprinkle with paprika. This potato salad is better if you make it a day ahead and allow the ingredients time to really combine.
After you’ve made this recipe once, it will come together super quickly the next time. There’s really not much to it. If you’re taking this potato salad on the road to a gathering, be sure to keep it on ice. People will love this. You won’t have to worry about what to do with the leftovers!
Food is, and probably will always be, a part of this day. It seems like food comes into play anytime there is a celebration. I think any excuse to eat is a good thing. Celebrating our national birthday is just a convenient reason!
This year, the fourth falls on a Monday. So that means a three-day weekend for a lot of folks. If I had my choice of days for this particular holiday to happen on, I think Friday would be my preference. You would get an entire two-day weekend to recover from your Independence Day revelry. Some celebrators need that extra recovery time!
Fireworks and the fourth naturally go together. So if you want to see fireworks (I mean REAL professional fireworks, not just your amateur backyard display.), here’s a list of places to get that done in and around Sarasota.
WHAT: FIREWORKS ON THE LAKE
WHERE: Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota FL
WHEN: July 3, 2022 – Dusk
WHERE: Bayfront Park
WHEN: July 4, 2002 – Dusk
WHERE: Siesta Key Public Beach
WHEN: July 4, 2022 – Dusk
WHERE: Humphris Park, Venice, Florida (2000 Tarpon Center Dr.)
WHEN: July 4, 2022 – Dusk
Yes, fireworks on the fourth are a great way to finish off the day. But like we already discussed, you need food, right!? Believe it or not, there are some food-centric July 4th happenings here in Sarasota. Here are a couple you might want to put on your to-do list.
WHERE: UTC Mall, Parking Lot 4 (East Side)
WHEN: July 2-3, 2022 – 2PM to 9PM
WHERE: Selby Botanical Gardens
WHEN: July 4, 2022 – 5:30PM to 9:30PM
Of course, the best eating opportunities on July 4th are usually the ones you create yourself. Whether it’s firing up the backyard grill for your friends and family or a pre-fireworks picnic at the beach, outdoor eating with people you care about is pretty hard to beat, especially on the 4th.
Most of us know how to grill a steak or flip burgers. It’s mostly easy cooking duty and hard to screw up. Plus, on these types of eating occasions, most people are fairly lenient when it comes to judging their food. If it’s close, it’s just fine. People generally aren’t griping if their burger isn’t perfectly medium-rare. It’s a party, after all.
So, you’ve got the main course part handled. And we’ve given you the recipe for the perfect July 4th side dish. If you feel a little lazy you can always ask folks to chip in and bring a side dish with them. It’s a fantastic way to share the work and get your guests involved and invested in the occasion!
However you choose to celebrate, enjoy your July 4th holiday! Be safe out there…