Stop. Put down that Mayo. Really. Make this, instead, this gorgeous, simple potato salad with olive oil and lemon. Served still warm or room temperature, this super easy potato salad shines. Your family and/or guests will appreciate the change, believe me.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s always a place for the traditional yellow potato salad, but this simple little throw together has replaced it at my home for so many reasons. It’s easy, fresh, and very transportable – and best of all, I don’t have to worry about as many food safety issues if I bring it to a cook-out or serve it a barbecue.
This salad is especially gorgeous with the more expensive baby Yukons, but really, any potato will work here. Baby reds are good, but even the old workhorse, the Russet is delicious. A decent olive oil is really essential, though. I like to cook the potatoes whole in their “jacket” (as Grandma would have said) which helps to retain the flavor and nutrients.
This salad, while fantastic as is, can be dressed up a number of ways. See Put Your own Spin on It, below for ideas. *hint* Bacon. Maybe not for a regular old weekday, but, yeah, it’s nice to show off a bit now and then…and as good as it is, written exactly as shown, a little pork will take it over the top for a special occasion.
Feel free, of course, to taste and adjust as you go.
Yukon Gold Potato Salad
- 1-3/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar or white-wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives or green onion
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Put the potatoes in a 4- to 5-quart saucepan and cover by about 2 inches with cold water. Add salt if desired and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil gently until the potatoes are tender enough to pierce easily with a skewer, about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on size. Don’t overcook them or they will fall apart.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1/2 tsp. salt.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander and let them cool slightly. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in bite size chunks. If the skin is bitter or tough, it may be removed.
Drop the potatoes into the bowl with the shallot mixture. Add the olive oil. Toss to combine. (It may appear that there’s too much dressing, but it will be absorbed.) Let the salad sit for 20 minutes. Season to taste with black pepper and more salt, if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: The olive oil may thicken if stored overnight in the fridge. A quick zap in the microwave to bring it back up to room temp could help to quickly restore, or a short sit on the counter.
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
- Potatoes: Any potato will work in this recipe, but the more expensive baby potatoes really are good, whether Yukon Gold or Red Bliss. Their thin skins are the perfect texture to be left on the potato, and since most of the nutrients lie just under the skin, I try to leave skins on whenever possible. Look for great prices on these potatoes to cue you as to when to make this salad. The larger Yukons are nice as well, but Russets are still good, also, and can often be had very cheaply through out the summer as well as in the fall. Aldis sometimes has great prices on specialty as well as the more common potatoes. Cost varies.
- Olive Oil: I have a little strategy for buying olive oil – using coupons and sales to lower the price, so click on the link. I also look for new brands and stock up – heavy competition means that when a new brand comes to the store, it is often at a fantastic price for a few weeks, then settles in at around the same price as the others. I think it’s important to use olive oil as opposed to many others – the health benefits outweigh a bit more extra cost, and it can be had at a very reasonable price. I also like the fact that Olive oil contains no hidden trans fats like Canola or Vegetable oil. Cost for this recipe: 32 cents.
- Vinegar: I pick up a jug of white vinegar around Easter – often with a coupon, and often on an unadvertised sale. It keeps forever and is dirt cheap. The better vinegars are often on sale at Easter, and on sale with coupons sporadically through the summer. Many can be picked up at no cost or for just pennies. Stock up because great sales other times of the year are much less likely and vinegar is a component of so many recipes. Cost nominal.
- Lemon: In season in the winter months here – lemons are often on sale through out the year 3 to 4 to a dollar. The rind holds as much or more flavor than the juice, so I often grate it off before using and store in a Ziploc in my freezer – the little bit dries up but still holds more flavor than the store bought. If I’m in a pinch and don’t have lemon, I’ll use it instead. Microwave your lemon for a bit if it’s hard and/or roll it on the counter before you juice it and it will break down easier. If you just need a small amount, pierce your lemon with a fork and squeeze out, then remember to use it – later. I bag it and put it in the door of the fridge. Cost 15 cents?
- Green Onion: I try to buy on sale for about 50 cents a bunch (usually during Holidays) then put the white tips in a jar of water in a sunny window to regrow. Kids love taking ownership of the project. I only need to replenish every few months. Cost is so minimal that I don’t even count it.
Put your own Spin on It:
- Cook and crumble about four strips of bacon or 4 ounces of Pancetta (lightly saute until crisp.) Add to the potatoes.
- Chives or shallots may be used in place of green onion
- The vinegar may be white wine, red wine, Champagne or other desired vinegar.
- Herbs may be added as desired, Rosemary or Basil