I’m pretty sure that at this point, we’ve all had more than enough of those heavy, mayo-forward potato salads. Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-mayo, I just think potato salad can be a LOT more interesting, so it’s time to step it up! To do this, I like to dress my potatoes in a warm vinaigrette that’s packed with savory, umami flavors. I use not one, but two mustards here: whole grain, which goes straight into hot olive oil so that the seeds sizzle, pop, and infuse everything with tangy mustard flavor, then dijon, which helps emulsify the vinaigrette, and adds even more zingy punch to the dish. I decided to get a little bit fancy with the other additions to this potato salad, so I swapped onions for shallots and dill pickles for cornichons. When all the ingredients come together, they’re finished with a generous sprinkle of fresh parsley, and the taste is 10 TIMES what you get from a sad, yellow, store-bought, mayo-based potato salad. Really, this recipe should serve as your reminder to always wonder whether a classic recipe could use some updating; sometimes the answer is no, but when the answer is yes, like in this warm, mustardy potato salad, the flavors are out of this world!
1. Warm Vinaigrette?
We’re all used to seeing vinaigrettes as room temperature dressings, because they’re most often used to dress salads, and anything warm would wilt the greens. But! When dressing a food like a potato, the warm vinaigrette is ideal, because the potatoes soak up the flavors like little sponges. Plus, did you know warm food actually tastes better? Our taste buds literally send a stronger signal to our brain when food is warm rather than cold!
2. Which Potato Is Best
Any small, creamy potato will work in this recipe; ideally you want something that you don’t have to cut down into bite size pieces. I love the tricolor potatoes because they’re beautiful AND they taste great!
3. Ingredient Swaps
Many of the ingredients in a recipe like this can be subbed for what you already have at home. Don’t have cornichons? Almost any pickle will taste delicious. Don’t have shallots? A sweet onion or even scallions would work in its place!
Warm Potato Salad with Sizzled Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1 ½ pounds small tricolor creamer potatoes, or other small, multicolor potato
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced shallot
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup diced cornichon
- ½ cup chopped parsley, divided
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Cut any large potatoes in half so that all potatoes are roughly equal sized.
- Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water, about an inch above potatoes. Season generously with salt, cover, and bring potatoes to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, uncover and reduce heat to medium-high to soft boil, and cook until potatoes are just fork tender, but not falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander and set aside.
- Next, make the vinaigrette. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add whole grain mustard and stir, noting that the mustard seeds will sizzle and pop when they make contact with hot oil. Stir until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, then add sugar and apple cider vinegar. Increase heat to medium high, and stir to dissolve sugar and reduce the apple cider vinegar by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Once vinegar is reduced, remove pan from heat and stir in Dijon mustard until mixture is emulsified. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper, stir, and set aside.
- Place potatoes back into their cooking pot, or a large mixing bowl, add cornichons and half of the parsley, then pour warm vinaigrette over them. Gently stir to evenly distribute ingredients and ensure potatoes are coated in vinaigrette. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Top with remaining parsley to garnish, and serve warm.