Classic, Braless Potato Salad in the Instant Pot!

Never eat more than you can lift. — Miss Piggy

After more than fifteen years together, I finally learned that Tahlia REALLY loves potato salad. I don’t know how I’d managed to miss this fact for so many years. I blame it on her former fitness-trainer self, who was verrrrry disciplined about not eating things that were fattening. But now, we’re middle aged, we’re fat, and we’re hungry, and we don’t give a shit.

So, every once in a while when Tahlia requests it, and I’ll zip into action in order to make up for my years and years of potato salad neglect. This particular time, however, her request included several conditions: it must be the classic potato salad with mustard, and it must not have onions, because that gives you bad breath. Nor could it have hard-boiled eggs or too much mayo, again, because of the fattening thing. In other words, Tahlia’s potato salad should be “reasonably healthy”—a request she often makes and which I usually ignore. Because, like Julia Child, I believe that “the only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”

Anyway, I didn’t start making the salad until late in the day, so I decided to cook the potatoes in my Instant Pot in order to expedite matters, as well as to highlight this useful kitchen cooker here in my blog. Despite the rave reviews I’d heard about the Instant Pot, I’d hesitated to get one because we have a small kitchen with little counter or storage space. I mean, seriously. The kitchen has 6 cabinets and four drawers. Indeed, the compactness of the space is one of the reasons we became The Braless Gourmet in the first place: the added volume of a bra or two, combined with our ever-expanding, peri-menopausal bustlines (and waistlines!), just took up too much space in this stupid tiny kitchen. And bras, with all their enclosure and suppressing and restricting? Who needs that shit? When you’re flashing and hungry and mad, bras just exacerbate your feelings of hot, cramped, and in-need-of-liberation. So, “Down with bra tyranny,” we cried. “Set the tatas free,” we shouted. And so the bras came off, the girls reigned free, and The Braless Gourmet was born.

So back to the Instant Pot. Last Christmas, my pal Steph, who for months had been telling me that the Instant Pot was worth every inch that it occupied, took the plunge for me and got me the 3-quart sized mini pot. Steph was right—the Instant Pot is a kitchen workhorse. And what, with the added space from the kitchen bra ban, the Instant Pot easily fits into a corner. Unlike my boobs, the little mini is really the perfect size, more than adequate for everyday usage. And it hastens my work in the kitchen, leaving more time to enjoy bralessness.

It took a total of about 15 minutes to cook eight medium sized potatoes: five or so for the cooker to build up the pressure, five of cooking time, and five for the “natural release” of that pressure. “Natural release” is Instant Pot-speak for the process of allowing the Pot first to depressurize on its own. Then you get more aggressive and turn the sealing dial to “unseal,” which releases the final amount of steam. Metaphorically speaking, releasing this pressure is kind of like undoing your bra at the end of a long day. But never, ever forget to practice Boob Safety while in the kitchen! Use a long-handled wooden spoon to push the dial (on left below) into the release mode, so as to avoid getting burned by the steam.

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Once all the pressure is released, the little silver button on the right will sink down into the lid, and you’ll know the pot’s ready to open.

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So for those who’ve not used the Instant Pot, my how-to follows. Others may wish to continue on directly to the recipe below, though there are some knife skills demonstration videos below.

Step 1

Place the trivet that came with your pot into the Instant Pot and add the water. Arrange the potatoes on the trivet in the pot. You can peel them before you place them in the pot, but I just peeled them with my fingers after they’d cooked, as the skin comes off so easily.  Try to use Yukon Gold potatoes, because they’re less starchy than some and hold their shape in the salad better.

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If you want to include hard-boiled eggs in the salad, you can add them into the Instant Pot at this time as well, though you’ll need a larger version of the Pot.

Step 2

Place the cover on the pot and turn valve to sealing position. Press the PRESSURE COOK button and set for 5 minutes.

After ingredients have cooked for 5 minutes and the pot beeps, allow another 5 minutes for “natural release” followed by a manual release the remaining pressure (see above for how to). Remove potatoes and allow to cool on a cookie sheet. If you included eggs, you can use tongs to now remove them to an ice bath, and then slice & peel when cooled.

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Also, in the future the BG plans to have a YouTube channel featuring demo videos to share. Here two knife skills demonstrations, followed by a BG Blooper Outtake, which will illustrate that the BG Test Kitchen shares certain things in common with Thug Kitchen.

Step 3

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and dice. Something important to remember about the Instant Pot: unlike boiling potatoes on the stove in salted water, salting the water of the instant Pot won’t flavor the potatoes, since they are essentially steam-cooked. This means that you have to add ample salt after they are diced. I recommend placing layers of two cups or so of diced potatoes at a time into a bowl, then salting and peppering each layer thoroughly. Add a couple or three stalks of finely diced celery, and two ripe, deseeded jalapenos, if you like.

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You could also add some minced onion or scallions here, too. Finally, stir and taste your mixture, and adjust if more salt is needed.

Step 4

Next, make the dressing. In a small bowl, combine 1 c. mayo, 1-2 T. mustard and 1-2 T. vinegar. Taste and adjust to liking. Stir dressing and drizzle over potatoes. Mix carefully into potatoes, so as not to smoosh or break up the diced potatoes. If you desire more dressing, make a bit more: I’d suggest starting with about an additional 1/3 c. of mayo, another tablespoon or two of Dijon mustard.)

Ingredient notes:

  • I used full-fat Hellman’s mayo. To Tahlia’s request for “reasonably healthy” potato salad I say “pfft.” Because how can potato salad be good without adequate mayo?
  • I also used Dijon whole grain mustard, which is much milder than yellow mustard. If you use yellow mustard, you’ll probably want to start with just a tablespoon. Because the whole grain mustard I used was so mild, I added maybe ½ t. of dry mustard to enhance the mustard-ness.

Step 5

If desired, top the salad with a couple of tablespoons of fresh chopped chives. Alternatively, you could add 1/3 to ½ c. to the entire salad, depending on your affection for chives and on whether you’ve already added onion or scallions?

Step 6

Chill and serve with a nice finishing salt, such as Cyprus Black Flake Sea Salt. I hadn’t added any black salt when I took this photo–the dark specks you see are the mustard seeds from the whole grain mustard I used.

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So there you have it, friends! Classic potato salad, perfect for packing on some more pounds and some boob weight to your life. Try it, posthaste!! You’ll thank me!

Classic Potato Salad in the Instant Pot (Recipe PDF)