While visiting family in Virginia during the holiday season of 2003, I was taken to Red Hot and Blue, a casual, counter-service style chain restaurant founded in the late 80's by "three Southerners and a transplanted Yankee [who] longed for authentic southern barbeque and the great blues music they all loved", with promises of the best sweet tea I'd ever taste (even though I prefer mine au natural) and potato salad that would ruin me for all other potato salads. I knew that if my anti-chain, anti-fast food family was this enthusiastic about this place, it had to be something spectacular.
I wasn't disappointed. While the sweet tea was, well, sweet (I will always be a plain tea girl, just the way my mom raised me), the pulled pork sandwiches were served properly, naked with a small side of sandwich slaw. For those who love saucy barbeque, there were four regional varieties of sauce on the table with flavors to suit any palette. The potato salad though, oh my the potato salad - excuse me for a moment while I drool at the memory...
This potato salad was as promised, like no salad I'd ever had before, and I could have easily abandoned the pulled pork sandwich in exchange for of a plateful of this simple, yet flavorful comfort food. The potatoes were warm and the flavors were unique.
I've been trying to recreate the experience ever since, and by George, I think I've got it!
Red Hot and Blue's Potato Salad
source: Red Hot and Blue Potato Salad
- 4 lbs red potatoes (make this paleo and try using rutabaga instead)
- 5 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (4 large stalks)
- 2 stalks minced celery (plus either the heart, leafy ends, or bottom 1/3 of the bunch)
- 1 1/4 cup real mayonnaise (Best Food's/Hellmann’s has the best flavor; I used light because it's what we keep on hand or make your own mayo to make this paleo)
- 1 tablespoon celery seed
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons celery salt
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- In a steamer, rice steamer, or large stock pot with a steamer basket, combine four pounds of rinsed, whole red potatoes with the celery heart, ends, or bottom, cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of celery salt, kosher salt, and water. Steam for 45 minutes, or until easily pierced by a fork. The potatoes should be soft enough to mash.
- While the potatoes are steaming, place the five large eggs in a sauce pan and fill with cold water to an inch above the eggs. Bring to a rolling boil on high heat, and immediately drop to a medium-heat boil for ten minutes. Have an ice water bath ready to submerge the eggs into once the timer goes off. Once the eggs are cool, peel the eggs and roughly chop.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, green onions, celery, celery seed and mayonnaise. Cut the hot potatoes into bite sized pieces and combine with the mayonnaise mixture. Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon of celery salt and thoroughly mix. At this point, you should taste the salad and add further celery salt based on your personal flavor preference.