Why Mayonnaise Matters | + Potato Salad Recipes Featuring Duke’s Mayonnaise

I was never picky about mayonnaise. Why would I be? It’s just oil and egg yolks, right?

Mayonnaise was mayonnaise – I didn’t waste brain power over it.

Then I started a salad dressing company.  I soon came to realize I’d have to begin caring about mayonnaise, a lot. And quick.

Soon after my parents settled in Lexington, Virginia, I heard my mom mention buying Duke’s Mayonnaise when she goes to the grocery store – a new pantry staple she adores. She told me it was a southern thing. Well, hey now – I love southern food.

I tasted it. I loved it. I was all in.

Compared to other mayonnaises, you can always count on a bigger tang, heftier flavor, and a gorgeous yolk-yellow hue that we can attribute to the larger quantity of yolks Duke’s has been using in their recipe for over 80 years. Tradition – sticking to your guns, and not changing who you are – are just a few other reasons I’m a big fan of that company.

Although Pennsylvania is above the Mason-Dixon line, I had been told and seen for myself that it maintains some small but noticeable southern food roots to it.

Things like pimento cheese and hush puppie-esque fry-bites are written on chalkboard signs in the small towns across Happy Valley. The region has, over time, melded together a congregation of southern, Amish and German influence into their food. Potato salad, I like to think, really encapsulates what eating, home cooking and living in Amish country is all about.

I’d written previously about the magic of potato salad in my recipe for Spicy Dill Pickle Potato Salad. I hit on this there, but there’s something uncannily familiar, homey and simple about potato salad that makes it such a ubiquitously-loved American staple. That, and it’s outrageously delicious.

As our inaugural post for Hankerings Dressings release, I thought it would be fitting to publish four generations’ worth of potato salad recipes – from my great-grandmother down to me. All will feature Duke’s Mayonnaise, of course.

Thank you, to my grandmother, aunt and mother – not just your help gathering recipes. I’m grateful to be a part of this process as you recount the smallest memories of my great-grandmother’s love for food, and want to thank you for always emanating more love and care than I know what to do with. I hope you’re having as much fun as I am.

Now onto the potato salad lineup – with three variations to choose from; you won’t run out of potato salad recipes for barbecues this summer. Let us know which is your favorite!

What are your favorite passed down family recipes for potato salad? Share them here!

Mattie’s (Mammie’s) Potato Salad

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 2 lbs. white boiling potatoes, quartered
  • 1 1 / 2 or 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 1 / 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons cream
  • 2 cups Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • Celery seed, for finishing

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl to create the dressing. Add the potatoes, and stir until incorporated. Garnish with the celery seed.
  3. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Marcy’s (Grandmom’s) Potato Salad

*Note that my Marcy’s potato salad recipe has one small tweak from Mattie’s – she adds hard boiled eggs, pimentos, and dill pickle relish & juice!

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 2 lbs. white boiling potatoes, quartered
  • 1 1 / 2 or 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 1 / 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons pimentos, minced
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons cream
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons dill pickle relish, plus 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice, reserving extra dill pickle relish for garnish
  • Celery seed, for garnish

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl to create the dressing. Add the potatoes, and stir until incorporated. Garnish with the dill pickle relish.
  3. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Liz’s (Mom’s) Potato Salad

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1 / 2 medium red onion, small diced, plus extra for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 small jar pimentos, drained
  • 1 Claussen pickle, minced, plus 2 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 1 1 / 2 cup Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • Heavy pinch of salt
  • Heavy pinch of pepper
  • Paprika, for garnish

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl to create the dressing. Add the potatoes, and stir until incorporated. Garnish with paprika.
  3. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Christine’s Spicy Dill Pickle Potato Salad

Recipe here!

Salmon Carpaccio

The story behind this recipe can be found in Hankerings’ latest post, Bonita Springs, Florida. I hope you enjoy!

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 1 lb. filet of fresh, fatty salmon
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 / 4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon capers, plus 1 teaspoon caper juice
  • 4 oz. parm reg
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish, if desired
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. With a thin, flexible knife, shave thin slices of the salmon and place them on a platter. Continue to shave until most of the meat has been removed from the filet, cutting off dark red pieces of the salmon for better presentation and taste.
  2. Cut the lemon in half. Combine the juice from half the lemon with the sour cream, capers, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Cut the remaining half of lemon into slices. Arrange them on top of the salmon. Pour half the sauce over the top of the salmon, saving some for additional use later, if desired.
  4. Shave the parm reg over the salmon, and sprinkle with minced parsley, if desired. Garnish with cracked pepper as well, if desired.
  5. Serve room temperature.

Vinegar Roast Chicken

Poulet au Vinagre, or vinegar chicken, is a famous Paul Bocuse recipe. A genius, genius recipe. His features tomatoes, which serves as a great acidic counterpoint to the vinegar.

Before I knew that this was in fact a world-famous concept of his, I cooked up a recipe for vinegar chicken years ago, found somewhere on Pinterest when I would spend hours a day pinning other bloggers’ posts.

Because this has the right elements, this roast chicken realizes the vinegar sauce from my memory. And I’ve regularly been making vinegar-y chicken, usually served with basmati rice, ever since.

I love vinegar. And brine. Pickled, salty anything and everything. By a quick scan of the recipes I post here, that’s pretty obvious. The reason I’m telling you this? To reinforce that if you like the same flavor profiles I do, trust me, this recipe will scratch your proverbial itch for vinegar.

I recently heard from someone on a health kick who said that they started adding vinegar to chicken and other saucy, red meat-based dishes. It’s a flavor booster, much like adding spices. It seems like vinegar does something to bolster protein, almost making them taste more calorie-heavy than they actually are.

I think that’s what this sauce does. It’s one of those “magic” sauces. The honey, garlic, chicken stock, tomato paste, butter and vinegar all condense down to this perfect combination of sweet, sour, salty and garlicky. With an added emphasis on the sour. Take out the butter, and I’m pretty sure it would be just as damn good.

Alas. This blog isn’t about leaving out the butter. Not here. This place is holy ground as far as butter is concerned, and I’m planning on keeping it that way.

With this relatively simply-prepared chicken and buttered rice, you really get a taste for the sauce. You will end up spooning more and more of it over additional helpings. Or at least I do.

Do you cook any meat-based recipes that have vinegar as a secret ingredient? I’d love to hear about them!

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 1 4 to 5 lb. chicken, giblets removed
  • 1 1 / 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 3 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bulb garlic, plus 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 / 2 large yellow onion, small diced
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature, salted or unsalted
  • Lemon slices, for garnish
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups water, plus 1 cup
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*.
  2. Take the chicken out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Pat the skin dry, including the cavity, with a paper towel.
  3. After an hour, sprinkle the cavity liberally with salt and pepper, and put a garlic bulb, cut in half lengthwise, in the cavity of the chicken. Truss the chicken legs with kitchen twine, and tuck the wings under the body of the chicken.
  4. Take 1 / 2 stick of softened butter, and rub all over the chicken. Slide your hands under the skin on either side of each breast, making sure to coat the top breast meat with the softened butter as well. Heavily sprinkle the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper.
  5. In the meantime, heat the red wine vinegar, tomato paste, chicken stock or broth, 1 cup water, honey, minced garlic and diced onion over simmering heat for 5 minutes or so, until reduced slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. Nestle the chicken in a small pan, barely big enough to hold the chicken. Pour the sauce in the pan around the chicken (not on top of the chicken), put lemon slices down the spine of the chicken, if desired, and place in the oven. Roast the chicken for 1 hour to 1 hour & 30 minutes, until the temperature of the chicken reaches 165* or you cut the groove between the leg and the breast and the juices run clear.
  7. In the meantime, run the rice under cold water in a sieve for a few minutes to remove extra starch. Put the rice in a small saucepan with 4 cups water, and simmer on medium heat until al dente consistency, about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the rice cooking instructions. Strain, return the rice to the pot, and add the remaining half of the stick of butter, stirring until melted. Set aside covered with a lid to keep warm until serving.
  8. Remove the chicken from the pan, turning the chicken upside down to allow any remaining juices to pour out of the cavity. Carve the chicken using Julia Child’s technique (carving starts at about 26:00). Retain the lemon slices and garlic bulb for garnish on the serving platter, if desired.
  9. Pour the roasting pan sauce into a pourable serving dish. Serve the chicken on a platter family style alongside a serving bowl of the buttered basmati rice.

Pickled Jalapenos

With my first batch of pickles done, I knew I had opened the flood gates for a barrage of new pickling endeavors. I always have store-bought ones in my fridge, so I was excited to see what they would taste like making them at home.

After the Carolina Reaper cukes – it had to be a pepper. And I put pickled jalapenos in everything, so it was a natural next step.

I knowingly overdo it with garlic. So my pickled vegetables will probably always have a heavy garlic vibe going on – including these jalapenos.

The other pickling ingredient I wanted to try out was mustard seed. Black peppercorns are a necessity according to what I read online – but I love mustard flavor, and figured that extra spicy punch might jive with the jalapenos.  It did. I want to slowly try new pickling spices as I go – to be able to see what each spice does for the batch. If I added too many at once, I don’t know that I’d be able to taste what each spice is doing to the brining liquid.

Mustard seed added a complex flavor. A little bit like what you’d taste with cornichon – which automatically made me think of pickled vegetables you’d find on a cheese plate.

I also upped the brininess of the pickling liquid here – adding more vinegar, salt and sugar. It helped pickle the jalapenos a bit quicker, I think, and the flavor was punchier. Not everyone is a fan of the brine factor, but for those who are, this ups that yummy sour factor that only vinegar can give you.

Next vegetable to pickle? Who knows. It’ll probably come to me when I’m least expecting it. But I do have a very large, stalky ginger root in my pantry right now… 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Makes 1 32. oz jar of pickles.

  • 6 jalapenos, tops removed, cut into slices
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • Small handful of black peppercorns
  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 10 stems parlsey leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar, plus 1 / 4 cup
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 / 2 tablespoon sugar, plus 1 / 2 teaspoon

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Heat the water, vinegar, salt and sugar until the salt and sugar is dissolved. Let the pickling liquid cool.
  2. Put the jalapenos, peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic and parsley in a large mason jar. Pour the cooled pickling liquid over the jalapenos and other ingredients. Seal the jar, and put in the fridge to pickle for 5 to 7 days.

Pickle-Brined Fish & Chips

I’ve never brined a protein before – and after this recipe, I’m regretting not experimenting with brining sooner.

I’ve only heard the pros of the brining method, mostly from people who regularly brine their Thanksgiving turkeys. Perfumes meat with desired flavors. Keeps meat juicy and tenderized. Imparts perfect level of saltiness.

All of these held true for the brine I soaked the cod in for these fish and chips. Except I didn’t use anything elegant along the lines of an orange peel, thyme and cardamom-infused brine.  Although that sounds like a good idea.

I used dill pickle juice.

Being careful to keep the cod’s dignity intact, the brine used wasn’t the Yellow 5-dyed stuff from a jar, but leftover from the dill pickles I made a few weeks back (brining liquid instructions per that recipe, excluding the hot peppers).

With time to spare before subjecting my stovetop to yet another splattering frying session, I threw the cod in the pickle juice and allowed it to soak for a few hours.

It wasn’t the pickles that you tasted in the fish meat – I primarily tasted the garlic. Remember, the tartar sauce has a pickle thing going on already, so you are getting a double pickle hit. I welcome this with open arms.

Is it just me, or are fish and chips that much better when you’re holding the scalding hot pieces of fish in a flimsy, poorly-executed paper cone while the grease drips onto your shirt and pants? While there are plates, forks and knives in your kitchen that you could use?

Infinitely better tasting, is where I was going with that. I don’t know why that is.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

F o r  t h e  B r i n e

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • Approximately 10 cloves garlic, smashed & skins removed
  • Approximately 20 stems fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

F o r  t h e  T a r t a r  S a u c e

  • 1 / 3 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 dill pickle spear, minced
  • 2 tablespoons white onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
  • 1 / 4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Pinch of sugar

F o r  t h e  F i s h

  • 4 to 6 4 oz. pieces fresh cod fillet
  • Vegetable oil, as needed for frying
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

F o r  t h e  C h i p s

  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 2 stems thyme, leaves removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Olive oil, as needed

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Heat the water, vinegar, salt and sugar on the stovetop until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the peppercorns, dill and garlic and allow to cool to room temperature. Once room temperature, place the cod in the brining liquid, leaving in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours to soak.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375*.
  3. Cut the potatoes into spears, and place on a sheet pan. Toss with a coating of olive oil, a large pinch of salt, a large pinch of pepper, the thyme and the minced garlic. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and tender, tossing once to maintain even cooking.
  4. Combine the tartar sauce ingredients. Set in the fridge to chill while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Combine the flour, garlic powder, and black pepper. Toss the cod fillets in the flour, then back into the brine, then back into the flour mixture, setting the pieces of fish on a clean plate.
  6. In the meantime, heat vegetable oil in a skillet so there are 1 1 / 2 to 2 inches of oil in the pan. Once frying temperature (test oil with a pinch of flour to see if it starts to sizzle), place the cod in the oil, waiting to flip the fish only after the underside is a golden brown.
  7. Serve the fish and chips hot, in rolled newspaper or parchment paper, if desired, along with the tartar sauce.