While potato salad is a year-round dish, it really becomes a staple as the weather turns warm. Whether you're going vinegar-y or creamy, warm or cold, the order it's put together makes the difference between a potato salad with great textures and flavors, and one that is just ho-hum. If you remember the right order to do things, you can easily throw together a tasty potato salad with what you have on hand.
- Multitask. Start by boiling your potatoes. While they're boiling, make your dressing and chop up the other ingredients.
- Mellow out harsh flavors. If you're doing a vinegar-based dressing, let the onions, shallots, garlic, or scallions sit in the vinegar while the potatoes are cooking. This will mellow out and more thoroughly distribute the sharp, harsh flavors.
- Drain well. When your potatoes are ready, drain, then briefly run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain thoroughly again, as no one wants a watery potato salad!
- Toss together while still warm. Toss the potatoes with the dressing while still warm. Warm potatoes will absorb the dressing better and become more flavorful.
- Add herbs and crunchy things last. Add crunchy vegetables and herbs after the salad has cooled down a bit so that they stay fresh and don't wilt.
- Let it hang out. Even if you're serving your potato salad warm, let it sit for a couple of minutes for the flavors to come together, otherwise throw it in the fridge until you're ready to serve.
- Do a final taste test. Right before serving, give your salad a taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Potatoes need a good amount of seasoning, especially when served cold.
Since potato salad is such a versatile dish, take a look at what you have in the fridge, follow this guide, and you'll end up with something delicious without having to use a recipe!
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