Our staff of recipe writers often receive email inquiries regarding how to make the best potato salad. Our recipe database is quite large and full of the best potato salad recipes, however we thought we would address this question in a brief article. First and foremost, the secret behind the best potato salad recipe lies within your own taste buds. In other words, there is no right or wrong way to prepare this dish, and it's almost impossible to mess up. Obviously you can put too much salt or pepper, or overcook your potatoes, but with regard to ingredient choices, it's very hard to go wrong as the dish is so flexible and accommodating. There is virtually no end to the variety of ingredients that you can add to a potato salad, and it seems like there are literally an unlimited number of ways to prepare the dish. In the paragraphs below, we will do our best to map out how to make a tasty potato salad that is guaranteed to turn heads.
Obviously the type or variety of potatoes you use will set the overall flavor of your salad. So be sure to choose a potato type that will accent the remaining ingredients that you plan to add. There are over four thousand different types of potatoes, however the most often used are red potatoes, white potatoes, yellow or Yukon potatoes, and purple potatoes. Each type has a unique flavor, so if you aren't sure what the difference in taste is, then we encourage you to boil each of them, and do a quick taste test. Once you have your basic potato flavors filed away in your memory, you will then know exactly which flavor to serve with any meal and any secondary salad ingredient choice. Outside of potato varieties, there is also a huge difference in taste between regular potatoes and new potatoes, the later generally being more tender and having a much thinner layer of outer skin. Again, get to know the taste difference between the two.
Another fundamental way to create an excellent potato salad outside of choosing a potato variety, is to figure out which flavor base that you like the best. There are tons of different bases commonly used, such as extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, Italian salad dressing, vinegar, ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, sour cream, white wine, mayonnaise, milk, cream cheese, feta cheese, and many more. If you need to prepare a potato salad for a big party, and you aren't sure which flavor base to use, then whip up a quick sample variety for yourself beforehand so that you can try out each. Obviously the flavor base will then dictate what other ingredients you will be adding to your salad. If you are looking for an off the beaten path flavor base, then try a tablespoon or two of pickle juice, carrot juice, whiskey, red wine, kiwi juice, bourbon, brandy, orange juice, dark porter beer, or even some store bought BBQ or steak grilling sauce.
Once you have your potato variety and flavor base picked, then it's time to decide what other ingredients you would like to add to the salad. Commonly used ingredients include onions, white or red beans, mustard, cayenne pepper, minced garlic, minced green jalapenos, grated cheese, bacon, chicken, turkey, Tabasco sauce, and many others. When preparing a potato salad, don't be afraid to venture in to new territory with ingredients. You can always do a quick taste test with a small sample of the salad, before completing the whole thing. If you are looking for some interesting and unique ingredients to add, try a couple teaspoons of your favorite salsa, avocado chunks, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, A1 steak sauce, cubed watermelon rind, crispy oriental noodles, toasted peanuts, or honey glazed almonds. There are millions of ways to create a memorable potato salad, and millions more that have yet to be discovered by the culinary world.