Well, the wedding of the year is over and my daughter is a radiant bride. Together with my new son-in-law, they planned a celebration for over a hundred people. In order to help contain the costs, both families pitched in to provide the food. Liz’s new father-in-law was the grill master. My part was to make the potato salad.
Making potato salad for a crowd can be time consuming but a little planning will help the process move smoothly.
The good folks at Cook’s Illustrated were very helpful in determining the amount of potatoes to buy. You’ll find their version here, but my version is better (she said modestly). I did use their tip of tossing the cooked potato cubes in apple cider vinegar. It helped keep the potatoes fresh looking which was a concern as I had to make the potato salad ahead of time and store it in my fridge.
If you look around, you can find organic mayo and relish but to be honest, I used Duke’s mayonnaise and a local brand of sweet relish. If you’re uncomfortable using those ingredients there’s no reason you couldn’t make your own homemade mayonnaise and relish .
After it’s all made up, you’re going to worry that it won’t be enough. It will be fine. You have to remind yourself that in a buffet setting, everyone takes a little bit of everything.
- 5 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾" cubes
- apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup celery, diced small
- 1 cup onion, diced small
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- ¼ cup yellow mustard
- ½ cup sweet relish
- 1 - 2 tablespoons celery seed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prep the celery and onion first. This can be done ahead of time for a very large batch and stored in the fridge until needed.
- Fill your largest pot about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Plan to cook the potatoes in batches. If you scoop the potatoes out using a slotted spoon, you can re-use the water for a second batch.
- Add a couple tablespoons of salt to the water, then add the potatoes. They are finished when a fork easily penetrates the potato. It's better to slightly undercook than overcook. Start checking around 12 minutes of cook time.
- Remove the cooked potatoes to your largest mixing bowl and toss gently with a generous splash of apple cider vinegar.
- Spread the potatoes out on a couple baking trays and allow them to cool to room temperature.
- While the potatoes are cooling, mix up the remaining ingredients to make the dressing. (If not serving right away, reserve about a third of the dressing to add to the potato salad right before serving as the potatoes will soak it up as they sit).
- When it's time to mix up the potato salad, work in batches and use your hands to gently mix the potatoes into the dressing.
- Transfer to containers for transport to your party.
To make potato salad for 100 people, I bought 20 pounds of russet potatoes, a bunch of celery, 3 pounds of onions, 2 32-ounce jars of mayonnaise, 2 10-ounce jars of sweet relish and a bottle of yellow mustard. I cut the onions and celery up earlier in the week and stored the bits in the fridge. On Friday morning, I peeled and cut up half the potatoes and made the first batch of potato salad. The second batch was made late Friday night. The reserved dressing was stored in one of the mayonnaise jars and mixed in before heading over to the reception where it was a big hit along with the pulled pork and barbecue chicken, baked beans and pasta salad.
Do you have a favorite real food recipe for feeding a crowd?