The Best Potato Salad Ever

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!

Potato Salad Recipe

Makes 6-8 servings

INGREDIENTS

4 shallots
1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 ½ tbsp kosher salt
4 lb medium Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
EVOO 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
1 bunch parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
8 farm eggs
Fleur de sel to taste
1 bunch tarragon, leaves picked but not chopped, for garnish
1 bunch dill, leaves picked but not chopped, for garnish
Fresh coriander seeds for sprinkling (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  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. In the 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 yokes, 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!

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 reduces the guilt of eating copious amounts of potato and dairy!

Story and Recipe by Monifa Dayo from Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora

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