It's not too late. You can still do a very good potato salad for Labor Day. The original potato salad I started out with (having grown up in a potato-salad-free home, I was left to my own devices) was a three-day affair, or at the least two, cooking the potatoes, seasoning them while still warm with vinegar, letting that sit overnight, and then dressing it the following day, preferably to be served the third day, or at least several hours later.
This version is much like the potato salads I first had at church barbecues on the north side of the city back in the Seventies, creamy rather than chunky, and with a good sweet-sour-spicy seasoning. I like it spicy, which is now how this recipe, which began with one in Jim Fobel's Big Flavors, evolved. His calls for mixed sweet pickles, which included pickles,cauliflower, pearl onions and red peppers. All I could find that first time was mixed hot dill pickles. I like dill but not so much dill pickles; nevertheless that was a hit. Of course, just like the lipstick color that was perfect, those pickles disappeared from the market, and I went on to other things. I subbed hot paprika for regular to add some heat, and, depending on who I was cooking for, even added some cayenne or Tabasco to the dressing. The batch currently mellowing in my fridge includes hot bread and butter pickles, which is nicely heretical. Early tasting is extremely promising.
3 pounds russet (baking) potatoes
3 large eggs, hard-cooked
1 Tbs. sugar (or substitute)
1 Tbs. cider or red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/3 c. finely chopped pickles (see above)
1/3 c. finely chopped onion (green onion is nice)
Put a pot of water on to boil, and salt it generously. Cut the potatoes up in two or three pieces and add to the pan when it comes to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, which could be 15 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the chunks. Drain and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, chop the eggs into a bowl. (A pastry blender is useful for this.) Mash a little with a fork, and stir in the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, vinegar, pepper, paprika, pickles, onion and 2 tsp. salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
Peel the potatoes, and mash them until they're somewhere between chunky and mashed. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and mix thoroughly. Taste for seasoning, and refrigerate to chill for several hours.
When ready to serve, check seasoning again and readjust if needed. Serves 6-8.