ON THE SIDE : Dilly-Style Potato Salad

Why some potato salads are typically just a bunch of mayo and some herbs is beyond me.  Like mashed potatoes, double stuffed baked potatoes, potatoes au gratin, etc. etc. – potato salad can be so much more!

As some of you know, I don’t shy away from flavor, but am a purist when it comes to a balanced meal. There should be something that kicks each part of your tongue into gear.

That said, one of my favorite meals is from childhood, surprise, surprise. It’s dad’s grilled BBQ chicken with mom’s potato salad and tomato basil salad. As we all probably learned in elementary school, our palate is made up of salty, sour, sweet, bitter. This meal has it all, people. A little bit of salty, sour, sweet, and more, because I want to add in “herbal.” There is a quality of magicky earthiness that is only captured by herbs and spices. These fantastic and generally unassuming plants, are the ju ne sais quoi – what makes you ask for a friends recipe.

So here’s your magicked potato salad.

DILLY STYLE POTATO SALAD serves 6

  • 6 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 hard boiled eggs (this can be done ahead of time!)
  • 1/2 c mayo
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1/2 c dill pickle juice (the best has some chopped garlic floating around like in a snowglobe)
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 c yellow mustard
  • 1 stalk of celery (about 1/4 c finely chopped)
  • 2 T of finely chopped celery leaves (set aside for serving)

These are totally optional, and I don’t typically do it, but this recipe lends itself nicely to an over-the-top display of flavors. Some ideas – crumbled bacon, shredded sharp yellow cheddar, chopped scallions, olives, pickled onions, hot sauce, and if you really want to amp up the dill pickle vibe, add some finely chopped pickles and/or pimentos.

Wash your whole potatoes, then leaving them unpeeled, chop them. You are looking for pieces about the size of cubed cheese on the grocery store cheese plate. I then steam them for 10 minutes. You can also boil them, which ever you are more comfortable doing.

While the potatoes are cooking, put the eggs on to hard boil (recipe here).

In a liquid measuring cup add your pickle juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and yellow mustard. Mix these all up until combined.

After the 10 minutes, test your potatoes for doneness using a fork to see if they are soft. Once they cooked through, put them in a large mixing bowl. Pour over them the pickle juice mixture. With a spoon get in there and fold away (this a good video to see the technique…). It may sound weird to fold a liquid into potatoes, but depending on how done your potatoes are, if you just stir in the liquid, you might just end up with lumpy mashed potatoes. When you want a delicate hand, trying folding.

Now let your potatoes marinate for 15 minutes on the counter. Your eggs should be close to done. Once they are, cool in a bowl full of ice or put them under the tap at the coolest setting – cool for about 10 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle,  add them to a bowl with the mayo and sour cream. Mash the eggs like you are making egg salad. Once the mayo and sour cream is incorporated, set aside.

If you haven’t already, prepare the celery and celery leaves.

After the potatoes have marinated for the first 15 minutes, fold the potatoes again – this is to make sure that all the potatoes that have been soaking on the bottom now switch places with the potatoes at the top. That way everything is evenly coated and flavored. Marinate on the counter for another 15 minutes.

Now would be a good time to prep any additional toppings.

Once the potatoes are finished marinating, check your texture, you might want to mash your potatoes just a bit to soak up the “sauce.” I “mashed” half a dozen times. Once happy with the texture, you can add the “egg salad” and the chopped celery. You can also add in the celery leaves, unless you want to sprinkle them on top for presentation. Fold everything together so everything is evenly incorporated.

By now the salad will be a bit warm still, serve it this way or refrigerate overnight. It gets better as it sits and continues to marinate. Once you are ready to serve, add the celery leaves on top or other optional toppings.

Meal idea – Slow-Cooker BBQ Whole Chicken (recipe here), Marinated Tomato Salad (recipe here)

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