I once owned and operated a specialty food store, catering company and small café on Central Street in Bangor, Maine. My shop, located in in the heart of the city, was one of few eateries in the almost deserted downtown. While consumer trends had pushed major retail shopping to the mall, the financial and legal seat of Penobscot County was still in the city center. And these folks needed to eat.
Gourmet to Go stocked prepared deli items and sandwiches, beer and wine, and gourmet groceries. Jimmy Cook, an engaging fellow with a twinkle in his eye and keen sense of humor, was our UPS delivery driver. Jimmy was also a foodie in the making. Delivery days were a special treat for both of us as we swapped stories about different eating adventures.
After moving to Stonington, I was delighted to cross paths with my friend dressed in brown, this time as one of the island’s most beloved delivery drivers. Soon even our dogs welcomed a visit, delivery, and special treat.
After a long career of negotiating the paneled UPS truck on Deer Isle’s winding, gravel roads, Jimmy just retired. To celebrate the occasion, he hosted a lobster feed for 60 or so friends, and asked me to bring the “potato salad.”
The recipe for Red Potato & Egg Salad is the version of the popular potato salad we served up with box lunch sandwiches at Gourmet to Go. It’s also the perfect salad to bring to potluck suppers with summer friends, family barbeques, lobster bakes and picnics.
The most difficult part of preparing this savory fare is scrubbing and cooking the potatoes. Leaving the skins on the potatoes provides additional nutrients, while creating a visually more appealing salad. Either slice or cube the spuds, being sure the pieces are pretty even in size. That way, they will cook more consistently. Undercooked potatoes are crunchy, while overcooked they can be mushy.
The dressing is a combination of grainy mustard (we like Raye’s Old World Gourmet), mayonnaise, and yogurt. The yogurt lightens both the fat content, and the flavor. Chopped chives or chive blossoms make a beautiful garnish, as does fresh basil leaves. Be sure to season with salt and pepper, taste, and season again.
Although we’ll miss Jimmy driving up the hill with our latest packages, he will still be here visiting us on the island. And every time I make this potato salad, it will be hats off to Jimmy!
JIMMY’S POTATO SALAD AKA: RED POTATO & EGG SALAD
To Serve 6
- 1½ pound red potatoes skins left on
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
- 3 tablespoons grainy mustard
- Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives to garnish optional
To Serve 36-40
- 10 pounds red potatoes, skins left on
- 18 eggs
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1¼ cup grainy mustard
- Sea saltand fresh pepper to taste
- ½ cup chopped fresh chives or may use other fresh herbs optional
- Assemble ingredients and tools.
- Scrub the potatoes and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
- In a large pot, cover the potatoes with water and cook the potatoes until just fork tender. Boil the eggs until hard cooked.
- Drain the potatoes and add them to a large bowl.
- Peel the eggs, cut them into small pieces and add them to the potatoes.
- Season the hot potatoes to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper. Add the mayonnaise, plain yogurt and grainy mustard, stirring gently. Stir in the chopped chives or fresh herbs
- Line a serving platter with greens.
- Mound the potato salad on top of the greens. Garnish the top with chopped fresh chives or chive blossoms and edible flowers.