If I am being honest, I have struggled in the past with making a good potato salad. It seems simple enough — boiled potatoes, mayo, some spices. But there is a bit of an art and science to making potato salad to ensure it isn’t too mushy or soggy or drenched or bland. And since potato salad is such a classic side dish for summer cookouts and parties, I felt determined to master this seemingly simple dish.
So after a few years of making mediocre potato salad, here are some of the things I have learned:
- Don’t over-cook your potatoes — cook them until they are fork tender. And make sure you chop them into even-sized pieces so they cook evenly, no matter if you like larger pieces of potato or smaller.
- Use a starchier potato, like red skinned potatoes, for a better potato salad.
- Rinse your potatoes in cold water after they cook. Then drain ALL the water, and put the potatoes back in the pot on the stove for 1-2 minutes over low flame to evaporate any excess water.
- Chill the potato salad for a few hours in the fridge, or overnight ideally, so the flavors will marry.
The recipe below fuses a quality formula for potato salad with some really delicious Ashkenazi flavors including caraway seeds, fresh dill and spicy horseradish. But feel free to trade the Jewish flavors for more traditional American add-ins likes scallion, red onion, celery or hard-boiled eggs.
- 1 lb red-skinned potatoes
- 1 cup mayonnaise (can also use Greek yogurt, or a combination)
- 2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
- 1-2 Tbsp prepared jarred horseradish
- 1/4 cup chopped kosher dill pickles (can also use thinly sliced cornichons)
- 2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- additional dill for garnish (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together mayo, mustard, horseradish, pickles, dill, salt, pepper and caraway seeds. Set aside.
- Add potatoes to boiling water and cook 10-12 minutes, or until they are fork tender.
- Rinse potatoes immediately in cold water. Drain and repeat.
- Place potatoes back in hot pot over low flame for 1-2 minutes, until all water has evaporated.
- Mix cooked potatoes with dressing until completely coated. Place in fridge for 3-4 hours, or overnight. Serve chilled.
Pronounced: AHSH-ken-AH-zee, Origin: Hebrew, Jews of Central and Eastern European origin.