Ina Garten’s Potato Salad Is My Forever Favorite Summer Side Dish

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While I pride myself on being willing to try almost anything once, I can be a bit picky when it comes to potato salad. Since most versions are swimming in far too much mayonnaise for my taste, I usually prefer my mom’s recipe (which leans on a little bacon fat for flavor) or German Potato Salad, which is dressed with a vinaigrette.

However, while perusing through my collection of Ina Garten cookbooks for inspiration (as one does), I was intrigued by her Old-Fashioned Potato Salad from “Barefoot Contessa At Home”. I’ve learned that Ina knows how to make an exceptional potato dish, so I decided to give it a try. 

How to Make Ina’s Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

What caught my eye immediately was the buttermilk in the ingredient list. I love the tang of buttermilk and, when combined with mayonnaise and lots of fresh dill, the dressing for the salad tasted more like ranch instead of straight-up mayonnaise, which I really appreciated. The dressing also features both Dijon and whole-grain mustard, which adds a pleasant acidity and slight spiciness.

Most importantly, the recipe directs you to make the dressing first, then add it to the potatoes to taste so that it doesn’t get overdressed. When I made the dish, I reserved about 1/3 cup of the dressing, and I thought the ratio was ideal.

Simply Recipes / Molly Adams

In true Ina form, the potatoes and add-ins for this dish are simple, making it a breeze to throw together. She calls for baby red potatoes, which require no peeling. One extra step I appreciated was covering the potatoes with a clean kitchen towel once they were fork-tender and drained. This gives the potatoes a little spa treatment, using steam to give them a lovely fluffy texture.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, you quarter them before tossing them with the dressing, chopped celery, and chopped red onion. I don’t always love the taste of raw red onion, so when I made this salad I used diced shallot instead which provided a more mild allium flavor.

How I Tweak Ina’s Potato Salad

My favorite element of this dish was the abundance of dill. Using a full cup of the aromatic herb made the salad taste incredibly fresh and spring-forward and added a very necessary green element to the creamy dressing.

Besides swapping the red onion for shallot, the only other change I made was adding the zest of one lemon. I love the combination of lemon and dill, and the zest really helped to brighten up the overall flavor of the salad.

I look forward to making this again when my chive blossoms are ready; the flavor and bright purple color will make everything pop! If you are looking for a classic potato salad with a slightly more sophisticated flavor, I highly recommend giving this a try for summer entertaining.

Simply Recipes / Molly Adams

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