25 November 2011
Macaroni salad is not the same as pasta salad. I'll post my more fashionable, vegetable-heavy, vinaigrette-dressed pasta salad another time. This is old-fashioned (retro) macaroni salad, comfort food from way before anyone ever thought of pasta salad, though I did make this batch with mezze penne instead of my usual salad macaroni. I definitely prefer the salad macaroni, but that would have meant another trip to the store!
Classic macaroni salad is a hit at any picnic, potluck or barbecue (Notice I said "barbecue," not "BBQ," which is one of those things I just hate!). It's great for Game Days, too, if you're into that sort of thing. I made this batch for friends who were going camping over Thanksgiving week.
After all these years, my husband and I have simply agreed to disagree about macaroni salad. He grew up with tuna macaroni salad, and I'm sorry, but that's just crazy! But I'll let him contaminate half a batch with tuna, and I'll keep half a batch as it should be. So, tell me, whose side are you on?
Macaroni Salad for Her / Tuna Salad For Him
(Makes 12 Servings)
8 large eggs
1 1-pound package salad macaroni
2 tablespoons sweet pickle juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
3/4 cup finely chopped sweet pickles or sweet relish
3/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup or more finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup or more finely chopped red bell pepper, patted dry
1 3/4 cup real mayonnaise, divided
1 tablespoon coarse Dijon mustard
Options for the half with tuna:
1 5-ounce can tuna, drained and flaked
1 cup frozen peas, thawed but not cooked
12 pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1 To hard-cook eggs, place eggs in 3-quart saucepan and cover with cold water to at least one inch above eggs. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to keep water just simmering. Cover; cook eggs 20 minutes. Cool at once in cold water. (Notice that the egg yolks are yellow and velvety, not orange and shiny-gooey!)
2 Cook macaroni al dente according to package directions in 5-quart Dutch oven. Put in colander. Rinse repeatedly with cold water until macaroni is cool. Drain thoroughly. Put back in pan.
3 Sprinkle pickle juice, salt, pepper and parsley flakes over cooked and cooled macaroni. (Sure, you can use fresh parsley if you have it; but I didn't. Dill can be good, too.) Stir in pickles, carrot, celery, onion, red bell pepper, 1 1/4 cups of the mayonnaise, and the mustard.
4 When ready to add eggs to salad, use egg slicer to slice eggs. Reserve 7 slices for garnish (14, if using 2 bowls); cover and refrigerate. Roughly chop remaining slices and add to salad. Transfer salad to 3-quart serving dish (or two 1.5-quart bowls), cover and refrigerate. Chill for at least 4 hours; but making it a day ahead is best.
5 Before serving, stir in the reserved mayonnaise (perhaps not all of it, or perhaps a bit more), as the macaroni will have absorbed the first portion and will likely be rather dry. (And this would be the case no matter how much you put in the first time!) Garnish with reserved egg slices and perhaps a bit of chopped fresh parsley or dill, if you have it.
The Tuna Option: Divide salad between two 1.5-quart bowls; add tuna, peas and olives to just one of them.