If you think of potato salad as a summertime picnic dish, think again. I make it all year with homegrown and stored potatoes and pickled vegetables. The pickles’ zing complements a creamy dressing, and hitting hot potatoes with a shot of pickle brine or vinegar turns bland to bright.
When I make this salad in summer, after sneaking tiny new potatoes from their beds, the vinegar doubles as a lazy cleaner: Rinse the first layer of dirt from the newly dug potatoes but then mix the vinegar into a bowl of hot tap water instead of the cooking pot. Add the potatoes, leave for 10 minutes, cover the bowl with a lid and shake it outside or over the sink until the remaining dirt falls away.
I use another potato technique when cooking on a camp stove and conserving fuel. Instead of simmering, I turn off the heat once the potatoes come to a boil and cover and leave them for an hour, or until the water cools to 135°F, before checking for doneness and draining.
The tricks I use to easily peel hard-boiled eggs include gently adding fridge-cold eggs in a slotted spoon to boiling water, with a pinch of baking soda, and then cooking for 12 minutes once the water returns to a full boil. Immediately plunging the eggs into a large bowl of ice-cold water gives me the best chance of smooth peeling.
The recipe here serves three as a main salad or six as a side with a second protein mixed in, like grilled salmon.
Potato Salad with Pickles and Creamy Dressing
2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
4 tablespoons pickle brine or white wine vinegar, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup pickled beans or cucumber pickles, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 medium carrots, cut into short matchsticks
3-6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
For the dressing:
1/2 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 tablespoon dried Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Place the cubed potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water and add 2 tablespoons of brine or vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until just tender. Drain the potatoes through a colander and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of brine or vinegar, salt and pepper; spread in a baking pan to cool.
When the potatoes have cooled, transfer them to a large bowl. Add the pickles, olives and carrots; mix gently to combine.
In a small liquid measuring cup, combine the yogurt, sour cream and lemon juice. Stir in the dill, parsley and salt. Pour half of this dressing over the salad and mix gently, adding more dressing, salt and pepper as needed. Divide among bowls, laying slices of one hard-boiled egg atop each serving.
Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.
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