What iS making my red potatoes skin peel off with mealy layer underneath when cooking for potato salad?

  • Posted by: Jan
  • April 12, 2019


Lori T. April 12, 2019
Red potato skins are among the thinnest of the potatos- only new potatos are thinner. Red potatos are also high moisture, low starch- and when you boil them the moisture in the potato wants to escape. So your potatos are actually peeling themselves, as the water vapor blows out of that thin skin. Then the flesh is exposed to the water, and gets supersaturated, and you get a spud with a gooey, mealy coating. The best option is to steam them, and let them cool so the starches set, and then slice for salad. The exception to that would be the hot potato salad Smaug mentions. The best flavor will come from dressing the spuds while hot, so they absorb the dressing as they cool. For a regular cold mayo style salad, you can slice the potatos hot, and lay them out in a single layer. Sprinkle on a bit of pickle juice and let them cool. This gets some flavor into them so they aren't quite so bland in the final cold salad. Skins will also adhere better once they are cool again.
Nancy April 12, 2019
I get uniformly good results by scrubbing the potatoes, peeling where necessary, cutting in largish chunks (halves, quarters depending on size of potatoes) and boiling in microwave. Adjust time for your machine power...start with 5 minutes, test, add more time if not cooked to desired doneness.
Smaug April 12, 2019
You might also try steaming, and if the potatoes are large take them off heat when they're not quite done- like large hunks of meat, the centers will continue to cook from accumulated heat for a while. My favorite for cooking potatoes, which I think would work well for potato salad, is to cut them up and put them in a skillet (you can do without oil in a nonstick skillet), cover tightly and cook over med. heat, stirring occasionally for about 25 min.- you can brown them or not. For a German style potato salad, they will absorb the dressing beautifully while still warm- I suppose for a mayonnaise type salad you'd have to cool them.
Emma L. April 12, 2019
Hi Jan! Cooking potatoes for potato salad can be so tricky. That happens to me sometimes, too. Are you boiling the potatoes? Gently simmering them instead takes longer, but usually results in less roughed-up potatoes.
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