Potato Salad

A Potato Salad That Gets (& Deserves) Your Attention

April 23, 2015

Salad shouldn't be an obligation or an afterthought—and it doesn't always have to be kale, either. Every other Thursday, Elizabeth Stark from Brooklyn Supper will help you make salads you actually want to eat. 

Today: The recipe you need to transform potato salad from obligatory barbecue guest into the life of the party. 

Shop the Story

The fading blossoms on the dogwood trees announce the imminence of grilling season. It's time to buy bulk bags of charcoal, work out a couple of cocktail recipes that really feel right when you've got a pair of tongs in the other hand, and, most importantly, tighten up your potato salad game. Typically, potato salad is in the weird position of being simultaneously ubiquitous and invisible. As a society, we've agreed it needs to be there, but only as a sidekick to burgers, dogs, watermelon, and corn on the cob. Happily, it only takes a few tweaks make potato salad the cookout guest you're glad to see instead of that one you kinda had to invite. 

More: When you learn to make it without a recipe, potato salad can be anything you want it to be.

I find the most fantastic early season potato salads are made with roasted potatoes rather than boiled ones. This isn't the deeply chilled salad we'll be craving later in the year—this one's warm and smoky, with crispy roasted potatoes and sunchokes, tender roasted asparagus, and a gentle wallop from pungent, of-the-moment ramps. Lemons suffuse everything with just the right amount of tang, and anchovies lend a je ne sais quoi (mais je l'aime).

Though roasted potatoes are just fine after a long stint in the oven, I've found that parboiling yields deliciously crisp edges and a light, pillowy interior. Lemon works as a flavor booster and prevents the sunchokes from discoloring. Since ramp season is fleeting, feel free to sub in your allium of choice as the season progresses. 

Roasted Potato, Sunchoke and Asparagus Salad with Ramps

Serves 6 to 8

For the dressing:

2 ramps, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
1 large clove garlic, smashed and minced
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained of excess oil and finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch sea salt
Pinch ground black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise

For the roasted vegetables:

6 new red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
6 medium-sized sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes)
1 lemon, 1 teaspoon zest reserved and halved
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 cup minced herbs (such as ramp greens, chives, parsley, oregano, tarragon, or thyme)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Elizabeth Stark

9 Comments

Sugar23 April 24, 2015
This looks so beautiful and delicious... however my poor husband HATES mayonnaise so the poor man has never met a good creamy potato salad that he'll even try. What do you think about subbing sour cream? <br />
 
Author Comment
Elizabeth S. April 24, 2015
What a about a homemade aioli? (I know it's the same as mayo, but not as stiff?) I'd try plain yogurt instead of sour cream – I think the sour cream might be too sour? If you do try a substitute, please let me know how it turned out!
 
Sugar23 April 24, 2015
He is suspicious of Aioli ;o)... Good idea -- I will try yogurt and let you know! Thank you!
 
Kenzi W. April 23, 2015
This. Looks. Incredible. Here's to us all tightening up our potato salad games.
 
Author Comment
Elizabeth S. April 23, 2015
Aww, thanks, Kenzie! Please tighten your game and bring me along as a taste-tester.
 
Sherrie C. April 23, 2015
Elizabeth, I think this salad might be my favorite one of yours {although each one is amazing}. The roasted potatoes really do it for me. Also, I really love this column and look forward to it, I don't know if I've told you lately or enough.
 
Author Comment
Elizabeth S. April 23, 2015
Sherrie, You just made my day! Writing this column, I always of think of the Simpsons' "you don't make friends with salad," thing. But hey, maybe I do! Cheers, friend.
 
Radish April 23, 2015
I don't know, a good potato salad salad does not take a back seat. The old potato salad with egg and mayo has recently made a come back for me. And a vinegar and oil potato salad are always great. Thanks for encouraging us to add other things.
 
Author Comment
Elizabeth S. April 23, 2015
Hi Radish, Glad to hear you're pro potato salad! (I am too.) And yes, I love the traditional egg and mayo kind as long as there are also plenty of onions and lots of lemon. I've yet to find vinegar and oil recipe that I really love, so I'm all ears if you have a favorite. Thanks so much for dropping by and checking out the recipe!