The Unexpected Secret to the Best Potato Salad

updated Sep 20, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

No backyard picnic spread or barbecue is complete without a bowl of creamy potato salad. Although everyone’s favorite recipe is a little different, most rely on a mix of mayo, mustard, and even yogurt to dress soft and starchy potatoes. While many summer salads lean on intense flavor boosters like pesto to deliver amplified flavor, the ingredient I use to make the potato salad I serve stand out from the crowd is a New England classic: Mos-Ness salad dressing.

Credit: Patty Catalano

Mos-Ness Isn’t Just Any Salad Dressing

I didn’t learn how to make a proper vinaigrette until I was studying food principles in a university lab. Why would I make dressing from scratch when a perfectly balanced vinaigrette was sitting on the grocery store shelf? Mos-Ness has been a New England favorite for decades, and you can count my dad among its biggest fans. He not only put it on green salads, but it was also our family’s secret ingredient for potato salads. Dad knows potatoes — after all, he grew up on a potato farm — and the zippy French-style vinaigrette gave his version of this summer side an attitude all its own. Even after spending the past 25 years down South (where the Mos-Ness sadly isn’t stocked), my dad has petitioned our local grocer, filled the back seat of his car with cases of Mos-Ness after visits back home, and ordered cases of the stuff online.

Buy now: Mos-Ness Salad Dressing, $15 for 6 (12-ounce) bottles

What Is Mos-Ness Salad Dressing?

Mos-Ness is a French-style vinaigrette, although not at all similar to the vibrant orange French dressings you’re used to seeing along the supermarket aisles. Shake to emulsify this vinaigrette into a rich dressing with onion-y, barely-there sweetness, and a gentle zip of vinegar.

It’s perfect for dressing green salads, mixing with butter for seafood dips, and — of course — adding to potato salad. All it takes is whisking a few tablespoons of Mos-Ness into a mayonnaise-based dressing to pack a powerful punch. Nobody will be able to place their finger on what makes the salad so good, but you’ll know.