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.
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, perhaps with 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. 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
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons chopped dill
- 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.