Dishes like potato salad are essential picnic staples in the South. Maybe everywhere, but definitely in the South. In fact, I think we Southerners believe we invented this favorite summertime side dish, but the truth is, there are versions of potato salad spanning the globe and we cannot take credit for its creation.
We may be able, though, to take credit for certain variations in the recipe, such as the specific type of mayonnaise used (Miracle Whip is a law according to my friends in south Texas and Duke’s is the only way to go where I grew up in the Southeast). If you’re like me and can’t eat either due to other food allergies (like soy), you can always sub a more allergy friendly brand like Earth Balance’s Mindful Mayo, or do what I do and make your own.
Another notable ingredient you’re likely to find in Southern Potato Salad is chopped hard boiled egg. I like mine with eggs, so I’ve included them in this recipe, but if you’re not a fan, simply leave them out and carry on.
And if you’re a fan of sweet or dill pickle relish in your ‘tater salad, go for it. That’s how we grew up eating it and I loved it then, can’t stomach it now. This is clearly a very personal dish!
You may also want to top the finished dish with some paprika for a bit of color. Again, that’s how I always saw it prepared growing up (same with deviled eggs) and that was my favorite part of the recipe – sprinkling the powdery red paprika on top!
Really, you can add or omit what you like, but I wanted to share with you a “standard” version from my part of the world. How do you make your potato salad?
Southern Potato Salad with Fresh Herbs
- For cooking the potatoes:
- 3 pounds white potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed into bite-size pieces
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Water for cooking potatoes
- For the seasoning:
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- For the dressing:
- ¾ cup mayonnaise (Try my Homemade Rosemary Aioli or my 2-Minute Mayo)
- 2 Tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
- ½ cup finely chopped sweet onion, like Vidalia
- ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped (additional to what is used in the seasoning)
- ¼ cup fresh chives, snipped
- Additional dill or chives for garnish
- Up to 4 Hard-boiled eggs, peeled, cooled and chopped (Use more or less, as you like; if you prefer, omit eggs.)
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Place the potatoes and salt in a large pot of water; bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for approximately 8 – 10 minutes, until the potatoes are just fork tender.
- While potatoes cook, whisk oil, vinegar, dill and salt together in a large bowl; set aside.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them in a colander and transfer to the bowl to toss with the seasoning while they are still hot (they will absorb the vinaigrette and be so flavorful when served. Allow potatoes to cool completely before adding dressing.
- Meanwhile, while you wait for the potatoes to cool whisk together all dressing ingredients except hard boiled eggs in a separate bowl. Add eggs and stir.
- Once potatoes are completely cooled, add dressing to the potatoes and toss gently to coat.
- Refrigerate the potato salad for 3-4 hours prior to serving (it’s even better if you prepare it a full day ahead so all the flavors have ample time to blend).
- Serve chilled.
- Other add-ins some folks enjoy in their potato salad are bacon, celery, sour cream, sliced green or black olives, diced pimentos, green beans, diced tomato, and I’ve even seen it made with corn! Maybe try some of these ideas, and some of mine, but not all at the same time.