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Due to its wide appeal, simple preparation, and (let’s face it) affordable ingredients, potato salad is a go-to dish for holiday celebrations and casual gatherings alike. And potato salad is endlessly variable, which makes it perfect for any occasion, from backyard barbecues and potluck parties to packed lunches.
For a potato salad that doesn’t end up mushy, use waxy potatoes, which keep their shape better than starchy potatoes. Generally the potatoes are steamed or boiled, either in their skins or peeled (if large potatoes are used, they are cut into uniform bite-size pieces). Don’t overcook them: They should be tender but not mushy.
The classic American potato salad is dressed with mayonnaise and seasoned with salt and pepper. Stir in some herbs and you are done. A great variation on that theme is to stir in some mustard and chopped hard-boiled egg or pickle relish.
For a creamier potato salad, you can go with mayonnaise, perhaps with a bit of lemon juice or white wine vinegar. A combination of mayonnaise and sour cream, buttermilk, or yogurt is also nice for a bit of tang. Chopped fresh herbs are a great way to dress up a classic potato salad. Particularly good pairings are tarragon, chervil, parsley, and dill. Lemon zest and black pepper are also tasty.
There are also plenty of variations using a bright vinaigrette-based dressing, which is very common with warm potato salads. Often the potatoes are tossed with the acidic component while still warm, which helps them absorb the flavor.
Some add-ins to try: sliced celery, diced red onion, capers, chopped olives, and of course, bacon.
Get our basic potato salad recipe and find options for tasty variations here!...