i grew up eating mostly store bought potato salad that was basically mayo flavored light yellow mush. blech. the potatoes were overcooked and so drenched in mayonnaise, or worse… miracle whip (the horror!), that you could hardly taste any of the other ingredients. so, a few years ago for a 4th of july potluck bbq, i wanted to make a potato salad that you could actually taste the ingredients, including the potatoes, and not just the salad dressing.

weiser family farms at the farmers markets here in los angeles have great potatoes, and a wide assortment. for my patriotic potato salad i chose chilean reds, russian banana fingerlings, and all blues. i like to leave the skin on the potato, which i feel gives the salad more texture and color. i find if you simply use quality ingredients you don’t need much else to make something taste good, so i kept mine to the basics:

  • 18 small to medium potatoes: a mix of red, white and blue
  • 5-6 celery stalks, diced small (about 1 ¾ cup)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced (about  1 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 hard boiled eggs
  • ¼ cup whole grain mustard
  • 1 cup mayo, plus more to your taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • fresh chives, chopped (for garnish)

begin by cooking the potatoes, because they will take a while to cool, but just like the eggs, they can be done ahead of time and cooled in the refrigerator overnight. cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. as suggested by america’s test kitchen on their blog for week 3 of the “dish it your way” blogger challenge,

“start boiling potatoes in cold water so they come up to temperature slowly and cook evenly. don’t be tempted to start potatoes in already boiling water to speed up the process- it will damage the texture. we also found that the potatoes started in boiling water actually had a longer cooking time than those started in cold water.”

from the time i turned on the heat until they were done was about 20 minutes. to make sure not overcook them i started checking them with a fork at about 15 minutes, remembering that they will continue to cook once off the heat. strain, and let cool completely.

while they are cooling, prep your other ingredients. place the celery, onion, garlic, celery seed, and s+p in a large bowl and mix to combine.

cut up the hard boiled eggs into chunks, and mix them in with veggie mixture.

once completely cooled, cut the potatoes into bite sized chunks, and add to the bowl.

add the mustard and 1 cup of mayo. mix to combine well. add more mayo to your taste. i prefer my potato salad a little on the dryer side rather than swimming in dressing. stir in the fresh dill.

garnish with additional dill and chives.

even though there is nothing fancy about this recipe, i did have two friends remark how they didn’t even like potato salad until they had mine. i think perhaps that they were just accustomed to eating the same mushy light yellow crap i was given growing up, but i’ll take the compliment just the same. enjoy! serves 10-12. 

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