Melissa Clark, my favorite recipe goddess, and I see eye to eye on most things, except maybe a certain pizza place that refuses to cut your pizza (but that’s a rant for another time) Splitting up after having recently met for coffee, she said she needed to get to the supermarket to pick up a jar of Kraft mayonnaise, and then spent the next 3 minutes en route, trying to convince me of its virtues relative to my favorite, Hellmann’s. I was skeptical at best and at worst, felt betrayed. How could anyone, especially Melissa Clark prefer anything to Hellmann’s? Impossible. Eye to eye or not, I was not ready to give it a try let alone concede my precious white gloppy gold to the back of my fridge to congeal and eventually crust over.
I needed a week or so to mull it over—to live with it—until it felt safe enough buy myself a jar of Kraft. Actually, I just needed the week to run out of my own mayonnaise—cheapskate that I am. But, the impulse to reach for the Hellman’s was pretty strong—I believe it’s called muscle memory…?
Back at home, Kraft in hand, the first thing I tried it with was a tomato sandwich on toast—the litmus test for mayonnaise. If it’s awful on a tomato sandwich, it’s pretty much going to be awful on everything else. Well, it was pretty good. In fact it was delicious—very creamy, not too sweet, overall, very well balanced. The acid of the tomato and the nutty flavor of the toast all contributed. Not convinced, the next thing I tried it with was a sliced hard-boiled egg sandwich. Again, pretty delicious. The dry yolk was perfectly moistened by the mayo. Finally, the last test was potato salad. There are no distracters from the mayo in potato salad, like sandwich bread. If it wasn’t tasty, I’d know it right away. Yep, delicious. Am I a Kraft convert? I don’t know. But the impulse to reach for the Hellmann’s won’t be unconscious any longer.
HERBED POTATO SALAD
ACTIVE: 30 MIN TOTAL 1 HR
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
3 large eggs
2/3 cup mayonnaise–Kraft or Hellmann’s
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons snipped chives
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer over moderate heat until tender, 30 minutes. Drain and let cool. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Meanwhile, put the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a vigorous boil. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain the eggs and gently shake them against the side of the pan to crack the shells. Fill the pot with cold water and let sit until cool. Peel the eggs and coarsely chop them.
- In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream and mustard until smooth. Add the chives, tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and eggs and fold until combined. Refrigerate until chilled and serve.