Cooking Cove: Traditional salads for the 4th of July

Cooking Cove: Traditional salads for the 4th of July

From left, potato, Cole slaw and macaroni salad. METRO photo

By Barbara Beltrami

Call me crazy,  but this year on the Fourth of July I’m going to pull out all the throttles with traditional American dishes. I want hot dogs with the works, and that means, mustard, relish and sauerkraut. I want  hamburgers oozing cheese and ketchup and crunchy with slices of raw onion. And I want the three traditional salads, tart and creamy with mayonnaise.

Not that it wouldn’t be okay to have a few appetizers like deviled eggs, chips with salsa and guacamole, maybe some scallion pancakes or shrimp rolls to munch on while things get going, but after the past year filled with all its denials and restrictions I want to renew the pleasure of scarfing down good old-fashioned potato salad and cole slaw and macaroni salad. 

And while I’m loading up my plate I want to keep in mind and remind my fellow indulgers that the day is not just a day for gorging ourselves with the things we love to eat, but primarily an anniversary of the day 245 years ago that we declared ourselves free from tyranny and launched a nation dedicated to equality and unalienable rights, a day to savor not just what comes out of the kitchen and off the grill but all those other unassailable rights and privileges that we enjoy.

Potato Salad

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


3 pounds small red-skinned potatoes


1 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons prepared mustard

1/3 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup chopped fresh dill leaves

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 celery rib, minced

1/2 medium red onion, peeled and minced


Place the whole potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil; lower heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes until potatoes are al dente; drain, remove from heat, then set in a colander over cooking water (with heat turned off), cover and let heat from hot water finish cooking them, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, wine, dill, salt, pepper, celery and onion. After the potatoes have cooled off a bit, but are still warm, halve or quarter them, depending on size, place them in a large bowl and toss them with the dressing. Let sit until completely cool, toss again and refrigerate. Toss one more time before serving. Serve with hot dogs, hamburgers or just about anything you’re grilling.

Cole Slaw

Cole Slaw

YIELD: Makes 12 servings


3 cups shredded green cabbage

3 cups shredded red cabbage

2 to 3 carrots, peeled and shredded

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup unflavored Greek yogurt

Scant 1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 cup sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


In large bowl combine cabbage and carrots. In small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, celery seed, sugar, and salt and pepper. Add to cabbage and carrot mixture and toss to thoroughly coat. Cover and chill unless serving immediately. Serve with grilled or fried meat, poultry or fish.

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad

YIELD: Makes 6 servings


2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1 celery rib, diced

1/2 small red onion, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1 cup diced fresh tomato

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Generous 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Coarse salt and black pepper to taste


Cook macaroni according to package instructions, drain and rinse in cold water; drain again. In large bowl combine the macaroni, celery, onion, parsley and tomato. In small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper. Pour dressing over macaroni mixture and toss to thoroughly coat. Cover and store in fridge. Serve with grilled chicken, beef or fish.