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What are some things I can do to make potato salads even more exciting?

Q:

What are some things I can do to make potato salads even more exciting?

A:

To create a signature summer potato salad, think outside the box and pair unique layers of flavor with great visuals. Chef-Owner Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy Spiral Potato Salad emphasizes potato versatility, using two varieties (Idaho® Russet and Idaho® Yukon Gold) presented in different forms and shapes (a Spiralizer forms ribbons from an oval potato), including potato planks as a base. The dressing is non-traditional (light sour cream, olive oil and white wine vinegar); a contrast is achieved by adding dehydrated apples, kale, watercress, black olives and scallions.

To give a simple green salad a unique spin, cube and fry Idaho® Russets, then dust them with cheese powder and spices to for a tasty potato crouton to pair with greens. If starting with freshly cubed and boiled Idaho potatoes, elevate the flavor profile of your dressing to Middle Eastern pairing it ethnic spices such as ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, or marjoram. For Thai flair, toss your potatoes with rice vinegar, red curry paste, tamari sauce, coconut sugar, fish sauce, ginger, crushed garlic and red pepper flakes; add chopped peanuts for crunch. 

Pairing potatoes with other vegetables allows color and texture contrasts. Red and gold varieties spike the color, as does leaving the skin on a medley of fingerlings, including purples. Stir-ins like beets, parsnips, and radish slices bump up both color and texture. Substituting Idaho® potatoes for classic Cobb proteins gives diners a vegetarian option with the roasted potato wedges lending both flavor and heft.

For protein lovers, turning a loaded baked potato into a salad gives traditional ingredients–bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream–cool new roles. Pairing potatoes with a protein in a salad comes naturally. Tuna usually stars in a Niçoise, but shrimp, crab or lobster also make perfect complements. For other protein/potato salad pairings, head to the foodservice salad section of the Idaho Potato Commission recipe database.

Potato Salad Tips:

  • Leave the skin on for a more rustic potato salad.
  • If boiling or steaming the potatoes, cut them into even sized chunks for consistent cooking, remove when fork tender (the mush test) and chill.
  • Boil potatoes in flavor enhanced liquids, including apple cider.
  • Adding acidity to raw cut potatoes (i.e., white vinegar or concentrated lemon juice) keeps the potatoes from oxidizing and turning gray.