4th of july

Carla Hall’s Potato Salad Is a Pickle-Lover’s Dream Come True

published Jun 23, 2020
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Credit: Image: Amelia Rampe; Design: The Kitchn

A little-known fact about me is that I am a Top Chef superfan — so obviously I love Carla Hall. Her super-positive and vibrant personality made her an instant favorite of mine when she debuted in season five, and I’ve loved following all of her successes in the years since.

When it came time to battle off potato salad recipes for this week’s celebrity recipe showdown, I knew I wanted to include Carla’s pickle-packed recipe. She applies the pickle theme to every aspect of her salad: boiling the potatoes in pickle brine and water, mixing up a dressing with pickle brine, and adding spicy pickles to the salad.

Are pickles the secret to better potato salad? Or would the pickle flavor be totally overpowering? Here’s what happened when I gave it a try.

Credit: Image: Amelia Rampe; Design: The Kitchn

How to Make Carla Hall’s Pickled Potato Salad

Carla’s recipe starts with two pounds of Russet potatoes that are peeled and cut into one-inch pieces. You’ll combine the potatoes in a medium saucepan with one-half cup pickle brine, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Simmer the potatoes until they’re fork-tender, then drain and rinse under cold water.

In a large bowl, whisk together pickle brine, olive oil, dried oregano, dried thyme, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the potatoes, 1 large chopped dill pickle (Carla prefers Dilly Hot), and some diced red bell pepper to the bowl. Toss until the mixture is evenly coated in the dressing. 

Credit: Amelia Rampe

My Honest Review of Carla’s Potato Salad

I absolutely loved Carla’s unique twist on potato salad. What it lacks in creaminess it makes up for in flavor: It’s bright, lightly spicy, and pickle-y yet fresh. I loved the lightly pickled potatoes, and I couldn’t get enough of the bites with extra pickle. My mayo-averse partner was a big fan, too.

What I love most about this salad, in addition to how delicious it is, is that it supports most dietary restrictions. It’s a safe salad to bring to a social-distanced gathering. It’s also incredibly easy to whip up, and calls for a very simple list of ingredients.

Credit: Amelia Rampe

If You’re Making Carla Hall’s Potato Salad, a Few Tips

  1. Swap in fresh herbs. Carla’s recipe calls for dried thyme and oregano, but I think it would be delicious with fresh herbs.
  2. Add a little mayo, if you like. I would love to try a mash-up of this potato salad with a classic mayo-based version, just for fun.

Rating: 9.5/10

Have you ever tried Carla Hall’s potato salad? Tell us what you thought in the comments.

Credit: Image: Amelia Rampe; Design: The Kitchn