We all have our favourite version of potato salad. There’s the creamy mayo and egg version “just like Mom use to make”. Or that smoky and warm German masterpiece with a wine vinegar tang. Then, sometimes, trusting our tastebuds, we let potatoes shine tossed with Thai red curry paste and coconut milk, or a Mediterranean version with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and robust olive oil.
And then there’s this, with the not-so-traditional role of the acid taken over by pickle juice.
I use a vinegar-free, sugar, and preservative-free kosher dill pickle that has garlic and dill in the ingredients. The brand is Bubbies, and I’m a fan because (a) they’re really, really good and (b) they don’t have vinegar, which normally overpowers the average pickle (for me). They have a fantastic zing and a delicious garlic flavor. If the pickles you are using lack garlic, you might want to add a minced clove or two to taste.
Picnic Potato Salad
The addition of pickle juice is what sets this potato salad apart. Served right away at room temperature, straight from the fridge, or on a paper plate in the afternoon sun are the best ways to enjoy it. Without having to worry about the mayo, it makes for the picnic side dish.
Makes 6 servings
2 1/2 pounds (1135g) waxy potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons (7mL) fine sea or Himalayan salt, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons (45mL) pickle juice
1 tablespoon (15mL) brown mustard
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 1/2 tablespoons (67mL) mild extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (60mL) finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons (45mL) finely chopped fresh dill
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 kosher pickle, finely chopped
Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water by about 1-inch. Bring to a boil with 1 teaspoon (5mL) of the salt. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool for about 10 minutes.
Put the pickle juice, mustard, remaining salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a large bowl. Add the oil in a steady stream, whisking to emulsify. Mix in the onion, dill, celery, and pickle. Once the potatoes are cool, add them to the mixture. Toss to combine. Refrigerate until serving or packing for a picnic.