Stop. Put down that Mayo. Really. Make this, instead, this gorgeous, simple Yukon Gold Potato Salad. It’s sparking with flavors from Provence: olive oil, and lemon. Serve it still warm or at room temperature and I’m betting your family and/or guests will appreciate the lighter change up.
In the States, the Classic Potato Salad is the yellow Mayo/mustard potato salad, and it reigns supreme. There’s always a place in my heart (and my tummy) for a bit of that Geman heritage. And 2nd to that is probably the potato salads that come from the Southern part of Germany, like this German Potato Salad with Bacon with its signature sweet/sour vinaigrette. Those, of course, only scratch the surface of the potato salad world.
About Yukon Gold Potato Salad:
But why not shake things up a bit and head even further South, dip into France and even towards Greece & Italy with this marvelous, simple and fabulous potato salad? This is a toss-together little recipe and it’s one of those recipes that would be easy to ignore. The ingredients sound just too simple, just too ordinary to be as fabulous as they are. You’re going to have to trust me on this one!
This Yukon Gold Potato Salad is surprising at the first taste, bright, lemony, and that little touch of chive just sets this little salad off perfectly. I’d say there’s even a little sophistication wrapped up in the simplicity.
If you wish to change it up a little you can add in an herb (tarragon is lovely and so is oregano) or an herb mix, like my Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend, but trust that just as it is, it’s a beautiful thing. If you’d like to take this to a whole ‘nuther level, though, think about a little bacon or a little Proscuitto or Pancetta sauteed until crispy. About 4 ounces or so should do the trick.
There’s another simple variation to these potatoes, and that’s to add fresh green beans, lightly cooked. It’s a great combination!
What to Serve this Potato Salad with?
This can be served anywhere you’d normally serve potato salad, but there’s no doubt that this would go very well with simple grilled foods and would complement anything that’s a little Meditteranean or Greek leaning. I think I’d love this salad with a grilled Greek chicken and while potato salad normally wouldn’t be served with fish, this one will be marvelous.
As far as when to serve? Since this salad is fab warm, it can be thought of as more of a side at home, but since it’s absolutely divine when at room temperature or cold, it’s great at picnics, barbecues, potlucks, and so on. There’s no doubt I’m more comfortable bringing a potato salad that doesn’t have mayo to functions like that. Keep in mind that when well chilled, the olive oil can harden up a bit; just let it sit on the counter and gently stir and it returns to liquid pretty quickly. You can also microwave for a minute or two, then gently stir.
The Ingredients for this Salad:
Sometimes the simplest things are best when a little care is taken with the ingredients and that is especially important with the olive oil. I’d say to go with your taste and if you love the stronger flavor of a good virgin olive oil, by all means, use one. If you’re a little more neutral, choose a mild one.
This salad is especially gorgeous with baby Yukons, although they’re a little pricier than many potatoes. There’s a little secret to coax out the best flavor of whichever potato you use. Cook them in their jackets, then cut. That keeps more of the flavor and most of the nutrients in the potato rather than the water, too.
Making Yukon Gold Potato Salad:
It’s hard to go wrong with this recipe. There are just a couple little touches that help things along. Don’t overcook the potatoes, especially if they are tiny or new potatoes; they literally can fall apart. Do cut the potatoes, even if they’re small; as the potato salad is tossed, the starch in the potatoes helps to thicken it so it coats the potatoes well. That being said, do take care in tossing the salad. You don’t want to break down those potatoes too much.
The chives are added in two additions. The ones mixed with the vinaigrette mellow (you’ll see they turn a dull green color) and give a bit of a base flavor. The few sprinkled over the top add a fresher taste. If you don’t have chives use green onion. If you want to go a little fancier, use shallots.
Saving Money on Yukon Gold Potato Salad:
- 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. This salad will also be wonderful with the bags of mixed fingerlings or baby potatoes; sometimes Aldi has them for a reasonable price. If you’re really watching your budget, try this with full-sized Yukons or the even cheaper red potatoes and cut them into bite-sized chunks.
- 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.
- Vinegar: Pick up your vinegar before Easter when the jugs of white vinegar are on sale and the fancier ones are usually at a low. Watch for more sales throughout the summer.
- Lemon: Watch for sales on lemon; they keep well. Don’t be so concerned about color, but pick your lemons by how heavy they feel for the size. They’ll be the juiciest. Microwave your lemon for about 30 seconds and/or roll it on the counter before you juice it and it will break down easier. If you just need a small amount of lemon juice, pierce your lemon with a fork and squeeze the juice out, then remember to use the lemon later. I bag it and put it in the door of the fridge.
Yukon Gold Potato Salad
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Side
- 1–3/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar or white-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives plus additional for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 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, chives, & 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.
Drop the potatoes into the bowl and 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 with additional chives over the top.
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 will do the same in a bit more time.