Potato salad with mustard and dill

Potato salad is one of the best summer grilling accompaniments. Potatoes, a lot like pasta and chicken in this respect, are perfect canvasses for a wide range of sauces, seasonings, rubs, vinaigrettes, or dressings. We’ve been down this road before with warm bacon potato salad, chipotle potato salad, roasted carrot and potato salad, and picnic-safe potato salad. Here’s another with ingredients that can safely withstand a couple of hours away from refrigeration – no eggs or dairy or mayonnaise.

Start with baby or finger potatoes of a waxy variety. Some groceries regularly carry small mixed bags of finger potatoes containing a rainbow of colors. Waxy types work best but I’ve used baby yellows too, and they’ll work fine as long as you don’t cook them too long. Plunging them directly into icy water to stop cooking is an important step.

Thinly sliced radishes, carrots, celery, or something a little more unusual like jicama adds a welcome crunch. Your local farmers market likely has a vendor selling all or any of those right now, along with fresh herbs. If you’re unable to find fresh dill, this dill paste from Gourmet Garden is sold in most groceries. I keep several of these herb pastes on hand for those times when fresh is out of season or I don’t have time to search for it – basil, Italian blend, lemon grass, cilantro. The last time I made this salad I was out of the paste and substituted a generous couple of tablespoons of dill pickle relish. Use scallions with their green tops, or fresh chives, and fresh parsley.

The first few times I made this I was able to use the homemade grainy mustard a friend had gifted me. Now that it’s gone I’ve had to replace it with a commercial brand. There are so many, but I like Grey Poupon’s Country Dijon made with coarse ground mustard seeds. It may take a little experimenting to find one that suits you. One with a bit of bite is perfect for this potato salad.

I have made the vinaigrette with red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and sherry vinegar. Any one of those flavors, and probably many others, will do the job. Apple cider vinegar lends a strong vinegar flavor.

– Joan, 11 June 2021

Potato salad with mustard and dill

  • Servings: About 8 cups
  • Print

Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or other flavored vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dill, finely chopped or 1-2 tablespoons dill paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives or 3-4 scallions, thinly sliced with green tops

Potato salad

  • 2½-3 lbs. small waxy potatoes
  • radishes, baby carrots, celery, or other crunchy vegetable, enough to make about 1/2 cup when thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make the vinaigrette In a glass or stainless steel bowl, whisk together the vinegar, dill or dill paste, chives or scallions, and mustard, then slowly add the olive oil while whisking. Set aside.

Make the salad – Put potatoes in a pan large enough to cover them with an inch of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and boil just until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a sharp knife, about 20 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and transfer the potatoes to a large bowl filled with ice-cold water. Allow the potatoes to cool for about 10 minutes. They’ll soak up the vinaigrette more readily if they are still slightly warm inside. You can peel them but it’s not necessary. Cut them into 1″ chunks. Add the sliced vegetables, parsley, and vinaigrette and toss carefully together. If you’ve cooked the potatoes to the right consistency they’ll hold together well. Cooked too long, they’ll break apart when you try to toss them in the vinaigrette. Salt and pepper to taste. Flavor is improved by allowing the salad to sit a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

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