Now this, my friends, is the kind of salad you want to have in your back pocket, so to speak. It is possibly the dish I have served to the most people, over my lifetime, and have noticed that it is both an excellent, rock solid standard, and a game changer - people wolf this down, and on more than one occasion I've had someone turn to me, cheeks stuffed full of new potato, eyes wild, and declare "but how can this be? I don't even like potato salad".
I do claim an unfair advantage on this one, it's true - I come to it from a place of love. Just as I'm convinced that the perfect roast potatoes can only be made by cooks who love them above all over things (in our house, it's Andy's job for this very reason - I'm definitely a mash girl, and boy do my roasties know it), so I believe the same is true of potato salad. It's long been a true favourite of mine, and I remember a million years ago at university when my mum gave me some money for groceries and told me to make sure I bought a treat, potato salad was the thing I went for.
The secret is definitely in the dressing, and in particular, the white wine vinegar which isn't the most obvious ingredient, it's true, but it does amazing trickery in adding some tang and background flavour.
I have given you catering-size quantities, that's undeniable, but one taste of this and you will know why. Whether you're feeding a crowd or just feeding yourself, this is comforting and fresh and tastes of summer. Keep it in the fridge and dip into it as and when. You will thank me, and so will all those in your life who are languishing in some misguided potato salad denial.
My own recipe, developed through years of delicious experimentation
1kg new potatoes, with the peel still on
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
Handful chives, chopped
Handful fresh mint, chopped
Salt and pepper
Keep the smallest potatoes whole, and cut the larger ones in half so they are all approximately the same size. Put them in a large pan, cover with cold water, add salt, and bring to the boil. Boil gently for 15 minutes, until a knife slides easily in to a potato with no resistance.
While the potatoes are cooking, mix the vinegar, olive oil and mustard until emulsified. Season with a good pinch of salt.
Drain the potatoes well and put into a large bowl. Immediately, while they are still hot, pour over the vinegar dressing.
Cover, and leave to cool completely.
Before serving, mix together the herbs and the whites of the spring onions with the mayonnaise. Stir this through the potatoes, making sure to stir through any vinaigrette that's lurking at the bottom of the bowl. Check for seasoning and add any salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
Put into your serving bowl, sprinkle over the spring onion greens, smile, sit back and wait for the conversions.