June 14, 2011

Herbed New Potato Salad

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

I have to admit that I wasn’t terribly excited when I learned that the June Daring Cooks Challenge was healthy potato salads. I love classic American potato salad. You know the kind I mean. Tender potatoes bathed in mayo and mustard with pieces of hard boiled egg, pickles, and (in my version), capers and tarragon.

I know I just lost half of you, those folks who are turned off at the idea of eating anything coated in mayonnaise. I hope the rest of you – those who might have licked their lips just a little at that description – will keep reading. Because it turns out that potato salad doesn’t have to be a creamy, calorie-laden concoction to be good.

As I started looking through recipes, I had several criteria in mind. First, I wanted to hold on to those bright flavors of tarragon and capers. Second, I wanted to keep this recipe relatively traditional. That meant I wouldn’t be using sweet potatoes instead of baby yukons or trying to incorporate international flavors. Third, I wanted to keep the salad vegetarian. And finally, if I was going to include other vegetables, they had to enhance, not compete with, the potatoes.

In other words, I wanted a healthier version of my usual potato salad. I wanted it to taste enough like the original that it would still be perfectly at home next to plates of burgers, hot dogs and grilled chicken.

I found a recipe that nicely fit the bill. It was simple boiled potatoes tossed with oil, vinegar, onion, capers and lots of herbs. The potato salad was tangy and bright and refreshing. It nicely complemented the grilled sausages, shrimp and chicken that we served it alongside. Plus, because it was egg- and mayo-free, I didn’t have to worry about it spoiling in the heat.

Now I won’t lie. I will most certainly go back to my classic potato salad this summer. But for those days when it’s 90 degrees in the shade, this refreshing, herb-dressed, mayo-less potato salad will be my new go-to side.

Start with some new potatoes. I used baby Yukon gold, but you can use any small potato. Cut them into bite-sized chunks and boil until tender. There’s nothing worse than an undercooked potato, so make sure your potatoes are cooked through before you drain them.

While your potatoes are cooking, prepare your herbs (I used a combination of tarragon, chives, thyme and basil).

Combine your herbs with the onion and capers.

Then mix everything together in a large bowl with the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain them thoroughly and add them to the bowl. Toss with the dressing. Be sure to recheck for salt and pepper. Potatoes take a lot of salt.

Let your potato salad rest for at least an hour or even overnight before you serve it to give the flavors enough time to incorporate. Serve at room temperature.

Herbed New Potato Salad

Adapted from Secret Larder

2 pounds new potatoes (I used baby Yukon gold)
1 small red onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped
4 Tbsp capers, chopped
2 large handful of finely chopped fresh herbs (I used basil, thyme, tarragon and chives)
½ cup good olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar (sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar would also be fine)

1.      Cut potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Place them in a saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

2.      In the meantime, combine the onion, herbs, capers, salt, pepper and vinegar in a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil.

3.      Add the warm potatoes to the dressing and toss. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

4.      Let stand for at least an hour before serving.

Serves 8 as a side dish.


  1. I have to try this... looks great and I have an out door party coming up at my house....

  2. I love potato salad in any way, shape or form. But I truly do love olive oil-based ones over heavy mayo ones much more. ;)


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