Originally posted August 16th, 2015. Revised and updated September 9th, 2016.
My favorite version will always be my grandmother’s, which she used to make at any given opportunity. And this was year round, not exclusively during the summertime.
Throughout my childhood, New Year’s Eve was always one of those occasions when she prepared a large bowlful for the whole family.
Paired with a few weenies and some hot mustard, Grandmother’s potato salad became one of the family’s most beloved dishes.
Of course, you can find countless variations of this classic side dish.
The recipes can usually be distinguished on the basis of their sauce. While some salads require mayonnaise, other varieties call for oil and vinegar.
Unfortunately, I do not have my grandmother’s exact recipe. But this one is very close to it.
The mayonnaise is mixed with some plain yogurt, so that the dressing is not too heavy. The gherkin juice provides a tangy flavor, and some fresh herbs top it all off.
Here’s a tip: To make slicing them even easier, I prefer to cook the potatoes a day in advance. The best thing about this is that completely cooled potatoes will not get mushy when you mix them with the sauce.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prepare the Potatoes
First, scrub your potatoes well with a vegetable brush and place them in a pot with water to cover, by about an inch. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, and continue to cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After you’ve boiled your potatoes in the skins until they are fork tender (you can also test with a pointy paring knife – if it sinks into the flesh easily, they’re ready to go) allow them to cool on the counter to room temperature, then chill completely in the refrigerator.
Once the potatoes are cool, the skins should peel off easily. Slice into rounds and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Step 2 – Slice the Pickles
You can dice them if you prefer, but I prefer to slice my gherkins into chips that mirror the shape of the potatoes. Don’t put that jar away just yet – you’ll need a little bit of the juice for your dressing.
You can place your sliced pickles in the bowl with your potatoes.
Step 3 – Prep Your Garnish
Remove the stems from the parsley, and chop about a handful of chives and parsley to garnish your salad. Set this aside until you’re ready to serve.
Dill would also make a nice addition to this salad, in place of the parsley. It pairs well with the pickles.
Step 4 – Make the Dressing
Combine the mayonnaise with the yogurt, and add a few splashes of gherkin juice (about 2-3 tablespoons). Add this gradually, since it’s easier to add more than it is to take away if you’ve added too much!
You want your dressing to maintain a thick, creamy consistency, and adding too much juice will result in a sauce that’s runny.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine completely.
As an alternative to garnishing with the herbs, you could also choose to add them to your dressing.
Step 5 – Mix and Chill
Pour the dressing over your sliced potatoes and pickles, and fold it in with a rubber spatula until the vegetables are completely coated.
Chill for a few hours before serving, garnished with a sprinkling of fresh herbs.
Want something truly and especially German to pair with your newly made potato salad? Try out this equally German baked onion tart recipe. Onion’s flavors are a perfect match for this dish’s fantastic flavors.
What’s your favorite way to make potato salad? Do you have a special family recipe? Share with us, in the comments!
Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.