Some recipes seem to remain family favorites through time like this potato salad that I make all summer long and even in the winter and it never gets old. This is a must have recipe for your next cookout if you’re tired of the same old potato salads.
There’s an old Portuguese saying; “Godchildren take after their Godparents”. Through the years, I have come to believe that this may be true.
I had my first bite of potato salad when I was about 8 years old. The salad was made by my Aunt and Godmother named “Alzira”. She was a great cook who had been the personal chef to a Portuguese General in Lisbon, Portugal for many years before she moved to America.
I didn’t like the salad because it had peas, carrots & green beans, and something called “mayonnaise” which I had never heard of before in my life! She called it “Russian Salad”, another word I’d never heard before.
Through my young age, my mother often sent me to Aunt Alzira’s house to help her prepare the special dishes for family celebrations and holidays. Although I tried, my help was never good enough, so most of the time I’d just sit and watch her cook.
I always had a slight suspicion that she knew very well that I was too young to help her in the kitchen, but she wanted me there beside her so I would learn how to cook. I was confused by her temperamental chef’s outbursts when I didn’t stir the batter enough, or fry the “Rissois de Camarao” properly.
What was the big deal anyway? I didn’t understand why she was so meticulous and her strive for perfection in all the recipes.
Today, I may not be as temperamental and as meticulous as my Godmother when it comes to cooking but I understand that cooking takes time and patience and I find myself striving for that same perfection in my own recipes.
I have a few of my her treasured kitchen utensils. Her turkey roasting pan is used every Thanksgiving and guess what, the turkey comes out perfect every time.
So here’s to my Godmother who inspired me to become a pretty good cook!
Portuguese Style Potato Salad
2 1/2 lbs potatoes (any you prefer)
1/2 small onion finely chopped
1 cup frozen petite peas
1 cup chopped carrots about 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup frozen cut green beans (optional)
1 tbsp minced parsley
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp Italian salad dressing
1/2 – 1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp paprika
6 hard boiled eggs (optional)
Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes. (You may also leave skins on but scrub them well before cooking)
Place the potatoes into salted water and let them come to a boil. After about 5 minutes add the carrots, and green beans.
Let them come to another boil and cook for about 5 more minutes. Taste one piece of potato to be sure its almost done.
Add peas and onions during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain and let the mixture cool.
When cool, add the remaining ingredients except eggs. Toss the ingredients or fold with plastic spatula. (Stir gently not to break the potatoes apart)
(Chop eggs into fourths and add to mixture if desired)
Place into serving dish and garnish with parsley and a sprinkle of paprika.
The salad can be served at room temperature or chilled the next day. Take my advise and double up the recipe because you’ll wish you’d made more the next day!