I don’t know if there is a more unifying substance in our country’s history than mayonnaise. Pivotal for shrimp salad, ‘tater (that’s potato –> tato –> tater) salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, shrimp salad, macaroni salad. Shame on me to forget cole slaw!
You know how I feel about using mayo as a pasta sauce (even writing this post in rebuke), but sometimes one has to be patriotic. Sometimes cooks must compromise for nine guests not interested in said cook’s love for funky vegetables and fresh garlic.
But before we get to classic macaroni salad to start off your summer, a jaunt down Memorial Day memory lane.
There was the salad of my life: mango and avocado over butter lettuce with queso fresco and pine-nut lime dressing—hold the bacon—at Agave in Lewes. Then, boardwalk pizza with friends (a must), though I chose Gus’ fries soaked in vinegar.
Did I mention the bountiful servings of pure Awesome at Touch of Italy in Lewes? Yes, we did eat our way through much of the weekend and came across some lovely beach finds like these luscious soaps from Little Egg Harbor Soap company, tucked away on the Rehoboth boardwalk…
and you might imagine my amusement at this greeting (which falls under my life principle of citing one’s sources):
Classic Macaroni Salad
tweaked from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook, serves 8-10
coarse kosher salt
1 lb. elbow mac
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (I mixed fresh flat-leaf parsley and chives)
1 lemon, juiced plus ½ tsp. lemon zest
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
½ tbsp Dijon mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups mayo
ground black pepper
Soak the chopped red onion in ice water while boiling the pasta (this reduces the raw bite of onion if you find it too strong).
Boil pasta in well salted water (a few tablespoons of salt) until nearly tender, just al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool, then drain briefly (but not all the way). Transfer to a large bowl.
Stir in the onion, celery, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder, and cayenne and let sit until flavors are absorbed about 2 minutes. Add mayo and let sit until the salad is no longer watery, about 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Can refrigerate up to 2 days. If making ahead, stir in a little warm water to loosen before serving.
Best enjoyed outdoors at sunset with good company.