Potato Salad is the topic of today’s Seasonal Pantry and the column, which you can read here, includes recipes for Sonoma County’s most famous variation, Marshall House Potato Salad, along with Potato & Mussel Salad and Potato Salad with Grilled Steak & Radish Vinaigrette.

Writing about potato salad is as much a tradition as making it, or nearly so. In 2012, I featured warm potato salad with several variations, which highlight the salad’s versatility: Warm Potato Salad with Summer Variations: with cherry tomatoes & cucumbers; with green beans; with tomatoes & bacon; with toppings instead of additions; with red wine vinegar; creamy.

Here are two more recipes from Seasonal Pantry archives, one based on what’s fresh right now at our farmers markets and another based on a specific cultural tradition, the luau: Warm Summer Salad with Green Beans, Tomatoes, Potatoes & Bacon and  Hawaiian Potato-Mac Salad. If you’re hosting a luau, you must have either Mac Salad or Potato-Mac Sald.

Russian Egg Potato Salad is gorgeous and delicious, though a bit of an extravaganza. It can be the centerpiece of a meal though it is more than a side dish; serve some smoked salmon with sour cream and minced red onion alongside and maybe a big green salad and you have a feast.

Russian Egg Potato Salad • Serves  8 to 10

Fresh eggs are notoriously difficult to peel. I find that transferring them to ice water immediately after cooking them is helpful. I let them rest until cool, crack the shells all over and then return them to ice water for another 15 minutes or so.

  •  3 pounds waxy-fleshed potatoes
  • 3/4 cup Caraway Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 5 celery stalks, trimmed and diced
  • 2 pounds fresh peas, shelled and blanched, or 2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 10 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
  • 1 ounce of the best black caviar you can afford
  1. Cook the potatoes in plenty of boiling water until they are tender but not mushy when pierced with a fork.  Let them cool and when they are easy to handle, peel the and slice them thinly.  Put the potatoes in a large bowl, pour the dressing over them, and let marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, put the diced carrots in a small saucepan, add an inch or so of water, cover, set over medium heat, and cook until the carrots are just tender, about 7 or 8 minutes.  Drain and let cool to room temperature.  Add the carrots, all but 1 tablespoon of the red onion, the scallions, celery, peas, and Italian parsley to the potatoes and toss together thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper and toss again.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and mustard; taste and season with salt and pepper.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture, pour the remainder over the vegetables, and fold the dressing into the salad.  Taste and correct the seasoning.
  4. Put the salad in a wide, shallow serving bowl.  Cut each of the eggs in half lengthwise and arrange them attractively over the top of the salad.  Top each egg with a spoonful of the reserved dressing, followed by a dollop of caviar.  Sprinkle with the reserved minced onions and serve immediately.

Caraway Vinaigrette • Makes about 3/4 cup

  •  1 small red shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon caraway seed, toasted and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the shallot, garlic, and caraway seed, pour the vinegar and lemon juice over the mixture, and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Mix in the parsley, oregano, thyme, and celery seed, season with salt and pepper, and whisk in the olive oil.  Taste and correct the acid balance with more vinegar or more oil and the seasoning with more salt or pepper as necessary.  Use the dressing within 2 days.