I’m usually not that effusive when it comes to the recipes on this site. Instead of spending my virtual real estate selling you on them, I usually prefer to focus on the story behind the dish, or practical ways to work it into your cooking routine. But my gloves are off, friends. Because this red potato salad recipe is truly the most delicious in all the land. And I want you to love it so hard – i.e. as much as I do.
The FMP archives are littered with some of my oldest go-to recipes, honored by unflattering lighting, questionable props (i.e. the dirty mixing bowl I made it in), and camera angles that would make even the most porn-worthy salted caramel sundae look like a pile of smiling poop emojis. (I invoke again the Ira Glass quote from a few weeks ago).
Obviously, this is the case when it comes to my mom’s potato salad, or the herbed potato salad with mustard and capers for the very few of you who have stumbled across my canon point-in-shoot image in all its glory. It’s also one recipe that I could legitimately make with my eyes closed, and have more or less done so (assuming tequila goggles count as a blindfold) in many summer vacation towns the world over.
When away with friends at one of their family homes, or at a share house, back in the day when that was an age-appropriate thing to do, I would usually get volunteered as tribute in the kitchen. And after a long week of cooking for people who actually paid me to do so, I didn’t necessarily want to take time away from my tan and beach reads to get creative with the menu. So enter this potato salad, again and again, ad infinitum.
Granted, this approach was basically my mother’s MO when I was growing up. Because she discovered before I did that aside from the few mayo-phobic outliers, there’s basically no one who doesn’t love this potato salad. In fact, one of my mayo-phobic friends recently admitted to having tasted it our house in Martha’s Vineyard because she didn’t want to be rude. And then despite her better emotional instincts, she couldn’t help but get seconds.
No one likes the white stuff more than my mother, but there’s actually just a modest amount in this recipe compared to most creamy potato salads. You get away with this modesty by adding almost an equal amount of good French Dijon mustard, and by adding whole hard boiled eggs to the mix. As you mash them along with the potatoes, the yolks create almost their own sauce. Imagine potato salad tossed in a light dressing of egg salad (but classy).The density of that mental image aside, this salad feels incredibly fresh and light thanks to mounds of fresh herbs (my favorite combo being chives and tarragon), and briny capers. My mother packs in a few other things (mustard powder, cider vinegar), but working with the limited pantries of vacation rentals and share houses, I’ve learned to streamline.
While I wanted to give this potato salad its due time in a well-lit, purposefully minimal spotlight, I also thought it would be nice to give it a slight spin. Which brings me to today’s secret ingredient: radishes. This replaces the usual celery for crunch and also maximizes the French vibes you’ve already fostered. You’ll want to finely chop these guys so that the texture isn’t too much of a shock as you plow through spoonfuls of light fluffy egg and potato.
And finally, because I didn’t want to feel wasteful, I whipped up a little chimichurri topping with the radish leaves. I can feel my mom squinting at me right now (“really? You think it needs that?”). And she’s right. There’s really no need to overcomplicate things. Because her herbed potato salad is DELICIOUS AF just the way it is. So consider this condiment just an optional idea for your Fourth of July buffet.
Well, how was that? Do you feel my excitement? Have I sold you ???
Have an amazing holiday weekend friends, and I can’t wait to see you back in these parts next week. Should you feel inclined to do a little beach reading that’s just one degree less salacious than your Nicholas Sparks novel, pop by on Monday for a 6 month Wellness Project update!! Can you believe it’s been that long? Okay, enough with the questions. Bye.
Creamy Red Potato Salad with Radishes, Capers and Chives
- Carefully place the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once simmering, remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs stand until cool enough to touch. This is known as the Ina technique for hard boiling eggs, but use whatever method you prefer if you don’t trust the queen.
- Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a large saucepan or stockpot and cover with well-salted cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Peel the eggs and add to the potatoes. Using a masher or fork, crush the eggs until the whites and yolks are broken up, and the potatoes are still fairly chunky. Stir in the radishes, mayonnaise, mustard, capers, chives, and tarragon (if using). Taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with additional herbs, sprouts, or dollops of radish leaf pesto (see note).