A good potato salad is something of an essential for the backyard cookout or grilling session. It can be made ahead, and adds that substantial heft to a burger or hot dog plate. And a homemade potato salad is so much better than a bag of cheap chips. Served next to a steak, it’s downright elegant.
A very good cook I know, with, let’s say a few more years of wisdom than me, shared the vinegar secret. She told me the only way to get any flavor in potato salad is vinegar in the water and vinegar on the spuds. And I think she’s right. I prefer mellow cider vinegar, but plain old white works just as well. This dressing is a garlic-y riff on classic green goddess herb dressing. I add some crumbled bacon because I like bacon with, well, everything, but feel free to leave it out if you are having a meat-heavy meal.
Garlic Goddess Potato Salad
2 pounds small potatoes, yellow, red or a mix
¾ cup cider vinegar, divided
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 green onions
3 Tablespoons finely chopped chives
Generous handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
2- 3 cloves garlic
½ pound bacon, cooked and chopped into pieces (optional)
Scrub the potatoes well and cut them into bite-sized pieces, all about the same size so they cook evenly. Place the potatoes in a large Dutch oven and cover with water by about 1 inch. Add ½ cup of the vinegar and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 15 minutes. You want your potatoes cooked through and soft, but not falling apart.
Drain the potatoes in a colander, and return to the pan. Pour over the remaining ¼ cup vinegar and gently stir to coat the potatoes. Leave to cool while you make the dressing.
Place the mayonnaise, buttermilk, herbs and garlic in the carafe of a blender and blend until smooth. Taste it, and if you’d like to add more garlic, feel free. Pour the dressing over the cooled potatoes and toss lightly to coat without breaking up the potatoes. Add the bacon if you are using it. Taste, and add salt if needed. Chill until ready to serve.
The potato salad will keep covered in the fridge for up to 2 days, though you might consider tossing in the bacon right before serving to keep it crispy.