Saturday, September 3, 2011

Classic Creamy Macaroni Salad

The humble macaroni salad often takes a back seat to Grandma’s potato salad, fresh summer fruit, homemade ice cream, and the burgers & dogs.  But - every outdoor summer event wouldn’t be the same without this classic salad on the table. Every family version is different, but this is a nice combination of all you love about it.

This year, summer seems to have shown up late - and now it appears it’s sneaking out the back door early.  Although I’ve been to several BBQ’s and reunion meals - I have yet to see anyone bring a really good old fashioned MACARONI salad.  Lots of other salads, but this one has been painfully absent.  With Labor Day coming up - I had to make it for old time’s sake.
Although I’ve made it before several times, it turns out different every time. I’m sure it’s because of the hurry I’m in when I think of it - last minute, of course.  I decided I need to find a good classic version that I can file the recipe away and pull out when I need it.

After looking at several recipes, I noticed a trend.  People either love it slightly sweet, or very “dill” and salty.  I like it both ways, but I’ve noticed my family likes to season theirs once it’s on their plate with either freshly ground pepper, seasoning salt, or a combination of the two.

There are three things I think are important in a good macaroni salad.  Those are lots of crunch (celery), pickles (either dill or sweet), and olives.  Then it can’t be too dry - so it needs lots of creamy sauce.  

I liked this version because it was neither sweet OR salty - and you can season it to your heart’s content once it’s on your plate.  I’m not a real onion fan - so I opted to add just a few tablespoons of sliced green onion (so you can SEE it and remove it - if you’re an onion hater)  Red onion is also a great choice, if that’s your preference.

My favorite thing about this recipe is the combination of mayonnaise (which you can even make yourself if you want, recipe is HERE), sour cream, and pickle juice.  It was just right.  The hint of dry mustard, celery seed, and freshly ground pepper was the finishing touch.

This would be a great addition to your Labor Day menu.  You'll find the recipe at:

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