Titi Nancy’s Potato Salad

published Nov 24, 2019
Titi Nancy’s Potato Salad

This hearty and satisfying potato salad is a great side dish for the holidays. It's made with russet potatoes, bell peppers, mayonnaise, egg, onion, and parsley.

Serves10 to 12

Prep20 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne; Prop Styling: Stephanie Yeh

This recipe is a part of our Ever-Evolving Southern Thanksgiving package. See all the recipes here.

Angie Willoughby, West Palm Beach, Florida

My story is all over the place and that is reflected in my culinary palate. Florida is where we would spend summers with my father’s Jamaican family, but we lived in Puerto Rico with my mother’s family from the age of 9 when the family left New York City. 

Puerto Rican culture is such an integral part of how I see food and holidays. These are the things that we do very well in Puerto Rico; some of our major exports are food, partying, and entertaining. Thanksgiving is sort of the kickoff to the larger holiday season that spans Christmas, New Year’s, and Tres Reyes, which I call Puerto Rican Christmas. This is the busiest time of the year, full of get-togethers and food. I come from a big family of incredible cooks — people who are just very gifted in the kitchen. If there is one dish that is central to this time of year for our family, it’s Titi Nancy’s potato salad. 

Nancy is my mom’s sister. She is my favorite aunt who is more like a second mom. Growing up, we were always at different family member’s houses and when we were planning a get together, there was no question who was doing the potato salad. It was like, “You got the potato salad, Nancy?” And she was like, “Yeah, I got it.” This potato salad’s origin story starts in Puerto Rico, but then it migrated to Florida when our family moved here. This potato salad is like a tradition that we’ve carried with us and as an Afro-Caribbean family, where potato salad is a touchy subject, Titi Nancy’s potato salad always passes the test. It’s never contested. 

My aunt is getting older now and there was a time when she didn’t feel well enough to do the potato salad. It was a big question: Who’s going to make the potato salad, after years and years of eating and loving this potato salad? I thought I could step up, but not without her bendición. I called her and got her blessing to respectfully fill in that year. 

It seems like a small thing — I mean, what’s the big deal about potato salad? — but this has been a tradition in our family. And food is culture — food is memory. This year, my wife and my son and I will probably do a potluck and I’ll likely make this potato salad. It’s extended past our family. I’ve made it for friends, for coworkers. It’s now its own food legacy here in Florida, which people forget is the South. This recipe is a contribution to the narrative of the South and also my family.

Titi Nancy’s Potato Salad

This hearty and satisfying potato salad is a great side dish for the holidays. It's made with russet potatoes, bell peppers, mayonnaise, egg, onion, and parsley.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 10 to 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds

    russet potatoes

  • Kosher salt

  • 1

    large yellow onion

  • 1

    small green bell pepper

  • 1

    small yellow bell pepper

  • 1

    small red bell pepper

  • 6

    hard-boiled eggs

  • 1 cup

    mayonnaise, preferably Hellman’s

  • 1 (12-ounce) jar

    sliced red pimiento or roasted red peppers

  • 1 bunch

    fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Halve 5 pounds russet potatoes, or quarter if large (do not peel). Place in a large pot, cover with cold water, and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are knife tender. Meanwhile, prepare the following, placing them all in a large bowl: Dice 1 large yellow onion, 3 small bell peppers, and 6 hard-boiled eggs. Drain 1 jar sliced pimiento or roasted red peppers (chop the roasted red peppers into bite-sized pieces if needed), and coarsely chop the leaves of 1 bunch parsley; set aside separately.

  2. Drain the potatoes. When cool enough to handle but still warm, remove and discard the potato peels with your hands and add the potatoes to the bowl of vegetables. Add 1 cup mayonnaise and mix with your hands to break down the potatoes into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Mix in most of the roasted peppers and parsley, then garnish the potato salad with the remaining peppers and parsley.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Contributed by Angie Willoughby, Jupiter, FL via Puerto Rico.