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Ina Garten’s Potato Salad Is My Forever Favorite Summer Side Dish

While I pride myself on being willing to try almost anything once, I can be a little picky when it comes to potato salad. Since most versions are bathed in way too much mayonnaise for my liking, I generally prefer my mother's recipe (which relies on a little bacon grease for flavor) or German potato salad, which is seasoned with a vinaigrette.

However, while looking through my collection of Ina Garten cookbooks for inspiration (as one does), I was intrigued by her Old Fashioned Potato Salad from “Barefoot Contessa At Home.” I learned that Ina knows how to make an exceptional potato dish, so I decided to try it.

How to Make Ina's Old Fashioned Potato Salad

What immediately caught my eye was the buttermilk in the ingredient list. I love the tangy taste of buttermilk, and when combined with mayonnaise and lots of fresh dill, the salad dressing tasted more like ranch than straight mayonnaise, which I really enjoyed . The dressing also contains Dijon mustard and whole grain mustard, which adds a pleasant acidity and slight tang.

Most importantly, the recipe instructs you to make the dressing first, then add it to the potatoes to taste so it's not overdressed. When I prepared the dish, I reserved about 1/3 cup of dressing and thought the ratio was ideal.

Simple recipes / Molly Adams


In true Ina form, the potatoes and add-ins for this dish are simple, making it a breeze to prepare. She calls for small red potatoes, which do not require peeling. An extra step I appreciated was covering the potatoes with a clean kitchen towel once they were fork tender and drained. This gives the potatoes a little spa treatment, using steam to give them a nice fluffy texture.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, quarter them before tossing with the dressing, chopped celery and chopped red onion. I don't always like the taste of raw red onion, so when I made this salad, I used diced shallot instead, which gave it a milder allium flavor .

How I tweak Ina's potato salad

My favorite part of this dish was the abundance of dill. Using a cupful of aromatic herbs made the salad taste incredibly fresh and spring-like and added a much-needed green element to the creamy dressing.

Besides replacing the red onion with shallots, the only other change I made was adding the zest of a lemon. I love the combination of lemon and dill, and the zest really helped brighten up the overall flavor of the salad.

I can't wait to make this again when my chive flowers are ready; the flavor and bright purple color will make everything pop! If you're looking for a classic potato salad with a slightly more sophisticated flavor, I highly recommend trying it for summer entertaining.

Simple recipes / Molly Adams


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