I’m a southern girl to my roots; being such just about requires you to love and adore mustard potato salad. And I do! I do! But I feel, as a caring giving person, it’s incumbent upon me to share the potato salad love. This includes amongst different potato salads.
Many years ago, before my darling husband became paranoid that I would poison someone, I supplied the lunches for our guided trips and schools. In an attempt to not do as he feared (although, to the best of my knowledge I have never made anyone sick), I came up with this recipe. Because it doesn’t contain mayonnaise, it is a great potato salad for picnics…and everyone knows how darned hot it can get here in The South…and everyone knows what hot mayonnaise will do to ya’. Also since my traditional mustard potato salad not only contains mayonnaise but a veritable boat load of hard-cooked eggs, this recipe is a vegetarian/vegan version of potato salad. And it’s delicious.
The real trick to this potato salad is to get new red potatoes that are similar in size…since you cook them whole, with the skins intact. Having varying sizes of potatoes will cause the smaller potatoes to be mushy by the time the larger ones are fork tender.
- 12 medium new red potatoes, cooked whole until fork tender
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1½ cups celery, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil*
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Note: I go light on olive oil here…one, I don’t like it too oily. Two, olive oil, while good for you, is highly caloric. It doesn’t take much. I promise.)
- Place the potatoes, whole and unpeeled, in a large pot and cover with water. Make sure the potatoes are fully covered and have a couple of inches of water above them.
- Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. This means until you are able to stick a fork easily into the potato.
- Carefully pour the potatoes into a colander in the sink, draining the water. Carefully, because you don’t want to break the skin on the potatoes. You could use a slotted spoon to remove them to the colander, if you are concerned about this step.
- Allow to cool.
- Once the potatoes are cool, cut them into fourths or eighths, depending on the size of the potato (or the size of your mouth), and place them in a large bowl.
- In a skillet, barely drizzled with olive oil, heat the onions, celery and garlic. You are not going to fully cook them. This step is to take just a bit of the raw off, while leaving the crisp.
- Add the onions, celery and garlic to the potatoes in the bowl, along with the thyme.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar until mixed.
- While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until fully emulsified.
- Pour over other ingredients in the bowl, add salt and pepper to taste and stir. Carefully. Until all of the potatoes are covered in the dressing.
- Prior to serving, remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
I consider this potato salad a lesson in steppin’ out of the box, or picnic basket as the case may be.