Everyone has a favorite summertime potato salad recipe, and here’s ours: infused with Dijon mustard, tart white wine vinegar, and plenty of chives, parsley and dill. It’s our go-to BBQ side.
Here’s a not-at-all hypothetical scenario for you. You email somebody an invite to a summer grill-out, and they get tremendously happy and excited and reply “Great! What potato salad church do you worship at?”. Because you have now encountered a Potato Salad Enthusiast and your previous plan of just buying a tub of the stuff at the grocery store is no longer going to fly.
Potato Salad: A Primer
Backyard BBQs are like summer movies. The meat, like Baby Back Ribs with Coffee-Honey Barbecue Sauce, is your good looking A-list star. It’s essentially your Chris Hemsworth or Gil Gadot. But the star needs a comic foil, a character who’s a little tart but ultimately has a soft, creamy center. This over-extended metaphor, the Martin Freeman of BBQ sides, if you like, is your potato salad.
The standard version is often over-cooked, with bland potatoes slathered in mayonnaise. If you’re lucky there might be a few pale little nuggets of celery in the mix “for freshness”. (I might have mentioned before that celery is my kryptonite and I will pick it out of anything, no matter how infinitesimally small the pieces are. It can take me a week to de-celery a deli tuna salad.)
We had a dear family friend, Rita, who made simply the most amazing German-style potato salad of all time. Her recipe went with her to her grave, so we sadly cannot relate the secret of her success. We’ve turned, instead, to a recipe inspired by Barefoot Contessa, and it has a little something extra up its sleeve. We like it because it’s packed with flavor in the form of vinegar, two kinds of mustard and lots and lots of fresh herbs. Take that, boring salad!
- I like Yukon Gold potatoes best for salad (and almost everything else) but red potatoes also work well. Avoid russets (Idaho) for this because they’re too starchy and would fall apart.
- Use any soft herbs you like (tarragon, chervil, basil, even mint). Harder herbs like rosemary and thyme would be a bit too strong here.
- If you happen to like celery, you could chop half a stalk into the mix. I won’t judge you. [She will. Oh, she will – Matt.]
- 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- About 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons chopped dill
- At least 3 tablespoons snipped chives
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion (or thinly sliced scallions)
- Put the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer the potatoes over moderate heat until tender, about 25-30 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste (approx. ½ -1 tsp of each). Set aside.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into 2 inch chunks. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten well. Add the celery (if using) and red onion. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.