The Best Potato Salad Ever From Monifa Dayo

May 18, 2022
23 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food stylist: Ericka Martins.
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

"I know what every Black person is thinking right now: Who does she think she is talking about—her potato salad is the best ever? I get it. We as Black people take potato salad very seriously. That’s why we stay side-eyeing Becky with her raisins. This recipe ain’t your grandmother’s or your favorite auntie’s version. No disrespect, none at all, but this potato salad gives you life in a way that deviates from the traditional heavy mayonnaise, mustard, and sweet relish styles. It’s not a summer potato salad nor some stuck-up French-style either. This potato salad is the code switch that never feels spirit breaking. It’s the dish that would sell out instantly at my supper club in Oakland. Inevitably, it became the treasured birthday gift or the über-favored contribution to Sunday gatherings with friends.

The Yukon gold potatoes introduce a rich texture, while the aioli is a more tasty and velvety expression of a creaminess than mayonnaise would render. The tanginess of the yogurt paired with the vinegar gives it the umami that makes it so addictive. The delicate poaching of the eggs brings a sophistication and lends reverence to the outstanding flavor of farm-fresh eggs. My people thought I was crazy to contribute this recipe to this project. They felt that this potato salad is so unique and honestly so ridiculously good that it should rest solely between the pages of my own cookbook. So, let this recipe be my gift to you, family: something for us, a new expression of what Black food is and can be. Bon appétit!"

Adapted lightly and excerpted with permission from Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora, edited by Bryant Terry (4Color Books, a division of Penguin Random House, 2021)Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 4 shallots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint full-fat yogurt (Straus is best)
  • 1 cup aioli (classic recipe will do, or store-bought)
  • 1 cup capers, drained
  • 1 bunch parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves and stems, coarsely chopped
  • 8 large eggs
  • Flaky salt or fleur de sel, for garnish
  • 1 handful tarragon, leaves picked but not chopped, for garnish
  • 1 handful dill, leaves picked but not chopped, for garnish
  • Fresh coriander seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
  1. Finely dice the shallots, place in a small bowl and cover with the vinegar and 1½ tablespoons salt.
  2. Place the potatoes in a pot filled with super-salty water. Boil gently until the water is cloudy and the potatoes are fork-tender. Strain the potatoes in a colander, drain off the water, then let cool on a sheet pan.
  3. When the potatoes are cool enough to touch, peel and discard the skins. Once peeled, use your hands to break the potatoes into smaller pieces.
  4. Drain the vinegar from the shallots over the potatoes and drizzle generously with the oil. Add the drained shallots. Gently mix with your hands. sprinkle heavily with the pepper and add more oil. Spoon large dollops of yogurt and aioli in each corner. Add the capers. Sprinkle the parsley and cilantro on top.
  5. Gently mix with your hands or a large spoon, being careful to leave each element intact and distinct.
  6. meantime, bring water to boil in a small Dutch oven. Just before the water boils, crack a few eggs in the water, making sure to ever so gently swirl the water. Poach the eggs until the yolks are set but soft, keeping the water below a simmer. Retrieve the eggs from the water and lightly dry on a towel. Season each egg with fleur de sel and oil. Let cool.
  7. Place the eggs atop the potato salad. Using a spoon, cut a few into halves and some into quarters. Ever so gently, with your hands, incorporate the eggs into the salad. You want to show off the yolks, but you also want some of the eggs nestled in the potatoes.
  8. Spoon the salad onto a serving dish, drizzle with additional oil, and season with more black pepper and the fleur de sel. Garnish with the tarragon and dill. If in season, sprinkle fresh coriander seeds on top as well. Enjoy!
  9. TIPS: Use Straus’s maple-flavored yogurt if you are a sweet potato salad kind of person.

    Add some butter lettuce hearts (keep them whole) in with the chopped herbs. This aids in stretching the salad and lightens up the copious amounts of potato and dairy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Janet Martin
    Janet Martin
  • Eliz.
  • brushjl
  • LoveFood
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

16 Reviews

brushjl October 8, 2023
I love potato salad, but this was not
my cup of tea. I didn't like the texture of the "hand-broken" potatoes, they ended up more like mashed potatoes. Was also not a fan of the poached eggs. Oh well, chaque a son goût.
LoveFood December 21, 2022
Love this version of the potato salad. Made it just as the recipe listed. Thank you. I will say however, I’m rather sad at how this contributor made it about “my people”. “My people” are experts in the field of potato salad making (we are white from the South). Every family gathering for my 65 years has included my mothers potato salad. My brother married a woman with German heritage and they too have a wonderful recipe for their German Potato Salad. So sad in the good old USA some segments of society need to keep dividing it’s citizens.. with all due respect, lets just cook and enjoy it all!
Eliz. July 26, 2023
So glad you enjoyed the recipe, too! Please note the context in which it was originally published: [I]Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora[I], ed. by the great Bryant Terry. As someone who identifies her sister-in-law's European roots and her own regional culture, you can no doubt be generous and extend your respect to the author's cultural identity as much as her culinary skills. Personally, I love cookbooks that place recipes in their historical and cultural context and am grateful that we now have access to a greater variety and quality of ingredients than was available back in the 60's and 70's! And as wonderful as French cuisine(s) might be, it is nice to live in an age when other food cultures are celebrated, researched and shared. The term "united" suggests that separate entities come together, and in so doing, we might benefit from knowing more about all the forces that shape our history and national identity and not just a select few. I highly recommend the Netflix series "High on the Hog" and Hulu's "Food Nation".
abuttonbox July 21, 2022
It's ok. If you like the divergent ingredients. It's not the best ever though. That one is mine, and my grandma's and my mother's
Nan May 22, 2023
Would you share your family's recipe for the Potato salad?
Sasha June 28, 2022
I think the flavor profile is excellent but the texture and creamy sauce is unfortunate and gratuitous. Many midwesterners may be familiar with potato salads as things soggy with mayo...but most of us then try to avoid that later in life. I made the recipe precisely as directed and was horrified at the overload of white good. All the flavor - which is great - comes from the vinegar, pickled shallots, herbs, and capers. So why drown it in yogurt and aioli? Baffling choice. The next time I make this I'd double the vinegar/shallots/capers, add celery or other veggies for crunch (and maybe quick-pickle those as well), toss with olive oil (great vegan option) and add 1/4 of the called for yogurt only if I then found it too acidic. I might also try tossing the potatoes in vinegar and olive oil and roasting to imbue more flavor and crisp them up for a crunchier texture.
Casli June 19, 2022
This is an Uber "Becky" potato salad. My family would not even try this, with the dill and tarragon and cilantro and capers and soft-cooked egg yolks.
kcolempls June 14, 2022
I don't know if my vinegar was just sharper than normal or the capers were brinier than typical, but this salad was just an overwhelming acid-bomb. I followed the directions verbatim with the exception of doubling the parsley to replace the missing cilantro. Literally everything else was the same. Love the poached egg instead of hard boiled. Will probably continue that in future potato salads, but not likely to make this one again any time soon.
galebv June 2, 2022
Oh my god! I think this is the best thing I've ever eaten, and I haven't even added the jammy eggs, tarragon and dill. I really can't begin to tell you how good this is. (And I even may have over cooked my potatoes by a few minutes.) I'm not even sure it needs the eggs, tarragon and dill. Though I certainly will have to conduct many experiments to determine. Thank you for this gift!!
phoebeswiss June 1, 2022
This is the best potato salad I’ve ever had! Made a cheaters aioli and used chopped cornichons instead of capers because that’s what I had. The vinegar soaked shallots were genius. Next time I’ll stick closer to the recipe and I’m sure it will be even better.
JRZak May 30, 2022
I have to admit, I am not a huge potato salad fan, and I have never made one that I thought was particularly worth eating (for the record, I'm a decent cook). This one changed that! I brought it to a friends' Memorial Day BBQ (the hosts are both fabulous cooks) - everyone raved about it, had seconds and asked for the recipe. It is hands down the best potato salad I have ever made, and probably one of the tastiest I have ever eaten.
Both the texture and taste of this salad are perfect. It is not too heavy, and the flavors - of which there are many - blend perfectly. As another reviewer noted, most recipes usually require tweaking based on individual likes/dislikes, availability of ingredients, etc. These are the modifications that I made: 1) I do not like cilantro, therefore I doubled up on fresh parsley. 2) I could not find store brought aioli, did not want to make my own, so I substituted regular mayonnaise and sour cream. 3) I omitted the eggs (for several reasons) but will definitely add them the next time I make it.
As for the salt issue that one reviewer raised, since there is a lot salt as you prepare the salad (ex., salted water, salted shallots, capers) you don't need to add much (any?) at the end. Taste as you go along so that you can adjust accordingly.
In a word - delicious!
Janet M. May 27, 2022
While I like the herby nature of this salad, I did have some problems with it. Half of my family won't eat cilantro, another batch hates tarragon, and about half wouldn't touch a "jammy" egg with a 10 ft pole. It's also way heavy on salt, and the closest place I could locate Straus yogurt is about 50 miles away. I did like the idea of poaching the eggs instead of boiling. The pickled shallots were fun, and the egg/potato proportion is about what I always use. I tried this making 1/4 of the recipe and served it to DH and me--2 hard poached eggs, 1/2 c Cabot whole milk yogurt, 1/4 c Stonewall farms lemony aoli, 1/4 c capers (we love them, but a lot of additional salt), way less than 1/4 of the salt called for in the shallots. I thought it was pretty tasty, but DH and the one grandson who agreed to taste it weren't particularly happy--"where are the sweet pickles?", they both wanted to know, and both thought the potatoes undercooked. So for big gatherings, it's back to the old standby.
kokocooks May 29, 2022
Lots of complaining here, just learn to adapt a recipe to your tastes for God's sake. You should be tasting as you go, adjusting salt and checking if the potatoes are cooked. If a recipe told you to jump off a cliff, I bet you'd do it...
Janet M. May 30, 2022
That's exactly what I did--adapt, and then listed the changes I made. I expect I will be poaching eggs for potato salad instead of boiling them from here until forever. I'm also going to be adding more herbs to the traditional salad the guys in my family expect, but tailoring them to who likes what--I personally love both cilantro and tarragon, but for big family meals it's going to be chopped parsley, while I'll use the c & t for the 2 of us. I liked the ability to lighten up the dressing with whole milk yogurt and cutting back on mayo. Capers will also be there forever.
witloof May 22, 2022
One cup of capers? Should that be one tablespoon?
brindaayer May 25, 2022
It's actually a cup per the recipe in the cookbook! Since there are 4 pounds of potatoes and a lot of other ingredients that can stand up to the briny flavor of the capers, the salad is still very balanced. That said, this recipe is super flexible—if you'd like to use a few tablespoons instead of the full cup, please feel free.