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POTATO SALADS : The addition of wine vinegars, crab meat, apples, dill weed, cumin and yogurt enliven a classic American summer side dish.

Times Staff Writer

Why fuss with a good thing? To make it better, that’s why, or just for a change. These are the only reasons for tampering with an American classic such as potato salad.

The following recipes employ such innovations as shrimp, yogurt, cumin seeds, apples and brown sugar. They veer a long way from tradition, judging by a recipe that appeared in the old “Household Searchlight Recipe Book.” This book was first published in Kansas in 1931. In that era, potato salad required only potatoes, sweet cucumber pickles, onion, hard-cooked eggs and mayonnaise or boiled dressing.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Aug. 03, 1989 Complete Potato Salad Recipe
Los Angeles Times Thursday August 3, 1989 Home Edition Food Part 8 Page 11 Column 1 Food Desk 4 inches; 117 words Type of Material: Correction; Recipe
Inadvertently, part of the procedure for Rosemary’s Dijon Potato Salad was left out of the potato salads feature last week. Here is the complete recipe.
ROSEMARY’S DIJON POTATO SALAD
12 to 14 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled and diced
2 cups mayonnaise or 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt, pepper
2 green onions, finely cut
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
Cook potatoes and cool slightly. Potatoes should be warm when mixed with dressing. Combine mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar in large bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add potatoes, green onions, and eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed. Makes 12 cups.
Note: To vary salad, substitute snipped fresh dill for green onions or add crisp diced bacon, finely cut celery, dill pickles or cornichons.

Such simple mixtures so pleased the American palate that, throughout the years, annual potato salad consumption has risen to 286 million pounds. This figure was issued by CPC International Inc., parent company of Best Foods, and was based on data from a market research firm.

A prime candidate to increase the yearly consumption is the Country Potato Salad prepared at Julienne, a bistro in San Marino. Susan Campoy, who owns this restaurant and take-out business, combines unpeeled small red potatoes with bacon, celery and green onions. The dressing consists of mayonnaise flavored with bacon drippings, red wine vinegar, brown sugar and Dijon mustard.

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Carola Drew of Los Angeles is from Berlin, and the recipe she uses originated with her mother. That makes it genuinely German as opposed to American-style German potato salad, which is served warm and includes bacon and vinegar. Drew adds tart apples to the potatoes and enhances the tang with wine vinegar and lemon juice. The salad is served chilled. “It’s fine for picnics and barbecues,” she said.

Rosemary Burkholder’s Dijon Potato Salad is a classic for the ‘80s, lending itself to such variations as the addition of bacon, dill pickles, cornichons or fresh dill. The unusual aspect is its track record. Burkholder, sous-chef at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort at Indian Wells, went to China in 1988 to teach American cooking methods to Chinese food service personnel. This is one of the recipes that went with her.

“Of course, mayonnaise was not available in China, so we had to make our own,” said Burkholder. “The only disadvantage to this was that in China there is no good-quality oil. We had to use rapeseed oil, which has a very strong flavor.”

The addition of cumin, mustard seeds and yogurt indicates Indian influence. And the salad that contains these ingredients was developed by actress Madhur Jaffrey, well known for her Indian cookbooks and television cook show appearances. The recipe title, The Best, Lightest Potato Salad, tells the salad’s virtues. The recipe appears in “Madhur Jaffrey’s Cookbook: Easy East/West Menus for Family and Friends,” published by Harper & Row.

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In Hawaii, the accepted style of potato salad includes shrimp or crab meat, peas and grated carrot. It’s also typical to add macaroni. Mushrooms are featured in a salad that was designed for a new, buttery tasting yellow potato from Michigan called Huston’s Yukon Gold. Dijon mustard and tarragon flavor the dressing, and the salad is topped with chopped nuts.

Maureen Bevelaqua of Muttontown, N.Y., cuts the calories in her salad by using low-fat yogurt and reduced-calorie mayonnaise. The recipe won first prize in a potato salad contest sponsored by Best Foods mayonnaise and Woman’s Day magazine.

The final salad comes in an edible container, a tomato cup. It’s another calorie-conscious dish, employing low-fat cottage cheese instead of mayonnaise.

JULIENNE’S COUNTRY POTATO SALAD

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4 pounds small (2-inch-long or less) red potatoes

1 pound bacon, chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

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1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 stalks celery, chopped or diced

2 to 3 bunches green onions, including tops, chopped

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Salt, pepper

Boil unpeeled potatoes. Drain and cool.

Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings. Combine reserved drippings with mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and mustard.

To assemble salad, cut unpeeled potatoes in quarters and place in bowl. Add bacon bits, celery and green onions. Toss dressing with potato mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 8 servings.

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CAROLA’S SIMPLY DELICIOUS POTATO SALAD

8 to 10 medium white potatoes (about 3 pounds)

1 or 2 firm tart apples, preferably Granny Smith

1 lemon

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2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons water

3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 to 1 tablespoon grated onion

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1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed or to taste

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Parsley

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Cherry tomatoes

Hard-cooked egg wedges or slices

Cook unpeeled potatoes until done but still slightly firm. Cool slightly, peel and cut into bite-size cubes. Cut apples into small cubes and sprinkle with juice of 1/2 lemon. Combine potatoes and apples in large bowl.

Mix vinegar, water and juice of remaining 1/2 lemon in bowl. Add mayonnaise and mix well. Mixture should be thick but pourable. Season with onion, dill, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over potatoes and apples and mix carefully. Cover and chill several hours.

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When ready to serve, mix again, taste to adjust seasonings. Decorate salad with parsley, cherry tomatoes and eggs. Makes 8 servings.

MADHUR’S BEST, LIGHTEST POTATO SALAD

1 1/4 pounds waxy boiling potatoes

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

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1 tablespoon oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds

3/4 teaspoon salt

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Freshly ground black pepper

1 green onion, white part only, finely sliced

Boil unpeeled potatoes until just tender. Cool (do not refrigerate) and peel. Cut into 3/4-inch dice. Place yogurt in bowl and beat lightly with fork until tender and creamy. Heat oil in small skillet. When hot, add cumin seeds. Seeds should begin to sizzle in few seconds. Add mustard seeds. As soon as mustard seeds start to pop, empty mixture in skillet into bowl with yogurt. Add salt, pepper to taste and green onion. Stir to mix. Add potatoes and mix gently. Chill, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

ROSEMARY’S DIJON POTATO SALAD

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12 to 14 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled and diced

2 cups mayonnaise or 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

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Salt, pepper

2 green onions, finely cut

2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

Cook potatoes and cool slightly. Potatoes should be warm when mixed with dressing. Combine mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar in large bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add potatoes, green onions, and eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed. Makes 12 cups.

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Note: To vary salad, substitute snipped fresh dill for green onions or add crisp diced bacon, finely cut celery, dill pickles or cornichons.

HAWAIIAN POTATO-SHRIMP SALAD

1 cup finely chopped onions

1/4 cup vinegar

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1 tablespoon sugar

4 to 5 medium potatoes, cooked and cooled

Salt

1/2 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and cooled

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1 pound shrimp, peeled, cooked and cooled

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas

1 carrot, shredded (about 1/2 cup)

4 hard-cooked eggs, diced

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Black pepper

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

Combine onions, vinegar and sugar and marinate 10 minutes. Cut potatoes in cubes and place in large bowl. Season lightly with salt, then add macaroni. Gradually add vinegar mixture and stir. Add shrimp, peas, carrot and eggs. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add mayonnaise and mix gently. Chill. Makes 14 cups.

GOLDEN POTATO AND MUSHROOM SALAD

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4 medium Huston’s Yukon gold potatoes

3 tablespoons dry white wine

2 green onions, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

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1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 sweet red pepper, thinly sliced

Dijon-Tarragon Dressing

Red leaf or butter lettuce

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1/4 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

Place whole unpeeled potatoes in saucepan with water to cover. Cover and simmer until barely tender when pierced with fork, about 25 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Peel and slice 1/4 inch thick. Place in bowl and sprinkle with wine. Cool completely.

Add green onions, parsley, mushrooms and red pepper. Pour Dijon-Tarragon dressing over salad and mix lightly. Spoon onto lettuce and sprinkle with nuts. Makes 6 servings.

Dijon-Tarragon Dressing

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3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

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1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Combine vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, pepper and tarragon in jar or other container. Mix well.

MAUREEN BEVELAQUA’S PRIZE-WINNING POTATO SALAD

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4 pounds small red potatoes, cooked and quartered

2 tablespoons corn oil

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 cup bottled reduced calorie mayonnaise

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1 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 cup minced red onions

1/2 cup minced fresh dill weed

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Salt, pepper

Place potatoes in large bowl and sprinkle with corn oil and vinegar. Toss lightly to coat. Combine mayonnaise, yogurt and mustard. Add mayonnaise mixture, onions and dill to salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. Makes 14 to 16 servings.

TOMATO-POTATO SALAD CUPS

4 tomatoes

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1 medium potato, cooked, peeled and diced

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese

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Salt, pepper

Lettuce leaves

Halve tomatoes. Scoop out pulp to form cups. Drain and chop pulp. Mix tomato pulp with potato, green onions, green pepper and cottage cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into tomato cups and chill. Serve on lettuce leaves. Makes 8 servings.

Food Styling by Minnie Bernardino and Donna Deane

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