Last night I made potato salad (by request) for Bible study and I jokingly told my friend that if I’m making potato salad, it must still be summertime. This creamy, tangy, nostalgic side dish is so deeply ingrained in our American notions of summer that it is hard to imagine eating it at any other time of year. But hey, if I’m not the only one who craves stuffing and pumpkin pie in May, I can’t be alone in my year-round love for a good potato salad.
Here is my simple recipe for a good ol’ American classic.
Classic Potato Salad — serves 8-10 as a side dish
- 3 lbs of small potatoes (I used sierra gold), washed and scrubbed (I leave the skin on)
- 1 cup of mayonnaise (the real stuff, the good stuff!)
- 4 TBS of your favorite mustard (I prefer the old-style whole grain dijon from Maille)
- 1/2 cup of chopped celery
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped shallots
- 1/2 cup of chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup of chopped cornichons/gherkins (also used the ones from Maille)
- 5 eggs, hardboiled, peeled, and roughly chopped
- kosher salt + freshly ground pepper to taste
- chopped green onion (optional)
- a splash (or two) of juice from the jar of cornichons
Boil potatoes and eggs separately in lightly salted water. My eggs take about 10-12 minutes, and then I let them come to room temperature in cool water. Peel carefully and roughly chop.
The potatoes took about 15 minutes but I prick them with a fork constantly at the end to get that perfectly tender level of done-ness. Nothing is worse in potato salad than undercooked, crunchy potatoes.
In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, celery, shallots, dill, cornichons and green onion. Mix to create a smooth dressing.
When the potatoes are done, drain them and cut into small chunks. Mix them into the dressing while they are still warm. Add the chopped eggs and season liberally with salt and pepper. Taste, add the cornichon juice, and adjust seasonings as needed. I always end up adding more salt, mustard and cornichon juice!
Cover and refrigerate the potato salad for a couple hours, then re-taste and re-season if needed. Potato salad tastes even better the next day, as the flavors really meld together. Serve cold or at room temperature (for best flavor), garnished with more green onions, some cornichons, and a dusting of paprika!
If you end up trying this recipe, I hope you enjoy! What is YOUR essential summer food?