Some foods are just better when they are homemade. One of these is potato salad. There is no comparison with prepared potato salads from a grocery store. In Louisiana, it seems that potato salad accompanies almost every type of social meal. Most cooks have a favorite recipe or two and so do I. One of my favorite recipes includes dill pickles and pickle juice.
Homemade Dill Pickle Potato Salad
My recipe for potato salad is simple and straight forward. I don’t use many ingredients. A good potato salad begins with potatoes that are flavorful. I boil the potatoes with the skins on and salt the boiling water. Often I’ll leave the skins on the potatoes added to the salad.
The other two ingredients that I include in potato salad are several hard boiled eggs and just a few green onions. They complement the taste of the potatoes.
This recipe uses dill pickles and the brine from the dill pickles. This gives the potato salad some tartness but not a strong vinegary flavor. I have a supply of home canned dill pickles–in case you’re trying to figure out what brand this is. Kosher-type dill pickle spears are a good substitute.
Other ingredients that I’ll occasionally add are prepared mustard, celery or celery seed and yellow onions. I have a a favorite recipe that combines new red potatoes and asparagus in a potato salad.
My preference is for using real mayonnaise versus a salad dressing-type; but this is also a matter of personal preference. Mayonnaise is not so sweet. And potatoes absorb different amounts of the mayonnaise. Chilled potatoes absorb less. It may not be necessary to use all the mayonnaise listed in the recipe.
Waxy vs Mealy Potatoes
What’s the best potato for potato salad? It is your preference, really. Potatoes fall into two categories: waxy and mealy. Mealy potatoes have thick skins, such as Russet, and a higher starch level. They are harder, drier, have a grainy mouth feel and tend to fall apart when cooked. They are good for dishes such as mashed potatoes, fried potatoes (which need a lower sugar content so they don’t burn) and baked potatoes.
Waxy potatoes have thin skins, such as Red Bliss, and are smooth, moist, higher in sugar and hold together better when cooked. Waxy potatoes are good for boiling or for salads. Gold Yukon potatoes fall between these categories.
As far as I’m concerned, either waxy or mealy potatoes work in potato salads–I use both depending upon the circumstance. Potato salads made with Russet or baking potatoes usually come out partially mashed–I don’t mind. Waxy potatoes hold together and work when combining with other ingredients such as celery or asparagus.
Here’s the potato salad; ready for a picnic in my backyard on a summer afternoon.
Dill Pickle Potato Salad
- 2 lb Gold Yukon Potatoes (to make 4 cups cooked, diced potatoes)
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 green onions, chopped with parts of the top
- 1 dill pickle spear,diced (about 1/4 cup diced), plus 1/4 cup dill pickle juice
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- paprika for garnish, optional
Instructions and Steps
- Wash and scrub the potatoes removing any blemishes,
- Add water (to 2 ” to partially cover potatoes) to large pot, add salt and then add potatoes, halving and/or quartering any large potatoes,
- Bring to a boil, cover pot and reduce heat; boil gently until the potatoes are tender. Stir the potatoes around part way through. (The potatoes won’t cook any faster on a rolling boil.)
- Meanwhile make the hard boiled eggs. Add the 3 eggs to a small pot, add cold water to cover. Bring to a rolling boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, begin counting from when the pot comes to a rolling boil and the heat is reduced. Remove from stove, pour off the hot water and add cold water. Peel the eggs as soon as they can be handled. Set aside.
- When the potatoes are cooked, transfer into a colander pouring off cooking water. When the potatoes are cool enough to be handled, dice the potatoes, including skins. Place in large bowl. If time allows, chill the potatoes.
- Dice the hard boiled eggs, add to the potatoes.
- Add the green onions and dill pickle spears and gently combine all ingredients.
- Mix the pickle juice with the mayonnaise in a small bowl. Pour about 2/3 of this dressing over the potatoes and gently combine. If needed, add the rest of the dressing. Chill the potato salad.
- Optional, when ready to serve, sprinkle with a little paprika.
At our home, we love potato salad. Hope you do too!