roasted potato salad

June 13th, 2010 § 20

One of the revelations of adulthood is discovering the variety of things that people call potato salad. It’s the quintessential summer dish – evoking heat waves, sprinklers, sunburns, mosquito bites, and nights lying awake with a wet washcloth on your forehead. As a kid, I knew that if my mother was making potato salad, supper was going to be fun. There might also be strawberry shortcake. Or maybe we’d eat outside and have watermelon.

Roasted potato salad made with new fingerling potatoes from the farmers' market.

Roasted potato salad made with creamy finglerings.

My mother’s potato salad was the classic version that forms the cornerstone of church picnics and summer barbecues. All of the moms I knew made it exactly the same way: diced potatoes, boiled eggs, celery, and Miracle Whip. Sure, maybe someone would throw in some green onions, and I think once I had a version with chopped ham. But like vanilla ice cream, or corn on the cob, potato salad had a wonderful, predictable sameness to it. I loved it, and could never get enough.


White, red and purple new potatoes.

I was probably 20 years old before I tasted a warm potato salad. It was dressed with a simple vinaigrette, and tossed with a soft tangle of tarragon and sweet slices of Vidalia onion, neither of which I’d tasted before. So it was a triple whammy for me, and I quickly learned to make it. My Warm Potato Salad was a regular feature at university potluck suppers, proudly displayed next to the tabouleh and vegetarian chili.


Thyme and shallots.

The question of whether it’s better than my mother’s potato salad has never arisen in my mind. To me they are like two different people who just happen to share the same name. This is really delicious with any kind of small new potato, we are lucky enough to have a local supplier of creamy fingerlings that just love to be roasted.


Mixed potatoes roasted with olive oil and coarse salt.

Roasted Potato Salad

Serves 4 as a side dish

NOTES We’ve sometimes added bacon or lardons to this salad, or used sliced shallots instead of Vidalia onions. You can also think of adding dill, or chervil, or whatever mild herbs you like, just be sure to use a generous amount of tarragon. The roasted potatoes do not refrigerate well. You can also make this using unpeeled boiled potatoes, it makes a lighter-tasting salad that does keep well in the fridge.

4 pounds of fingerling potatoes
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
about 2/3 C olive oil
a Vidalia onion, halved and sliced
½ C fresh tarragon leaves
½ C Italian parsley leaves
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1. Clean and dry the potatoes. Cut them, unpeeled, into bite-sizes pieces, toss them with olive oil, salt, and a little peper, and roast them in a 400º oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until golden and crusty on the outside, and soft on the inside.

2. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Pour the vinegar into a salad bowl, and whisk in enough salt to balance the vinegar’s acidity. Add the pepper and mustard, and whisk to combine. Add the olive oil in a thin stream while whisking. Add the Vidalia onions and fresh herbs, and let them macerate in the vinaigrette while the potatoes finish cooking.

3. When the potatoes are done, let them cool for about 20 minutes before adding them to the salad bowl and tossing them gently to coat with the vinaigrette. Let the salad rest for a few minutes before serving so the potatoes can absorb the flavours, then taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.

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§ 20 Responses to “roasted potato salad”

  • As a kid, we always had both types of potato salad at every gathering. We called the warm vinegar version Hot Potato Salad and the other was just potato salad. The potatoes were never roasted however and I can’t say how good that sounds. The next time I make Hot Potato Salad it will be with roasted, not boiled potatoes.

  • Wei-Wei says:

    I’m not a fan of cold potato salad because I don’t like the nasty starchy texture and taste of potatoes, nor do I like mayonnaise. I do, however, love roasted, warm potatoes, so this would be perfect! Great recipe. :)


  • Carla says:

    That looks spectacular! Mmm, potatoes and herbs…

  • Looks divine! Can sometimes be really nice to add horseradish and/or walnut oil to this type of potato salad.

  • Rob says:

    Thanks. Someone also suggested to us that you could use anchovies instead of salt. That could work nicely.

  • Jon says:

    I’d like to round up the last 4 recipes you posted (including this one — yum!) and have a picnic. Beautiful work, guys.

  • Foy says:

    I have to say this looks delicious. I’d much rather have this than the traditional. What’s going on with the servings though? One pound of potatoes per person seems a bit heavy.

  • Rob says:

    I thought so too, but we used three pounds the other night for a four-person dinner with lamb chops and were left wanting more. The potatoes actually lose quite a bit of mass as they roast, as moisture evaporates.

  • I adore tarragon and thyme together; how much better with roasted potatoes and a little Dijon! I think I’ll saute some big white butter beans until slightly golden, then add them in with the potatoes. This is gorgeous!

  • David says:

    Sounds delicious with the butter beans. I think green beans would also be really good. Or asparagus.

  • Imogen says:

    Made these with braised lamb chops for an early Father’s Day dinner. Delicious!! Perfect accompaniment to lamb. Thanks!

  • StarGazer says:

    Made this for dinner last night. Used minced shallot instead of the onion…. Fantastic!!!

  • Catherine Sicotte says:

    C’est tellement un accompagnement parfait! J’haiiiiis la salade de patates en général, du moins la version classique bouillie de starch et mayonnaise, vraiment, celle-ci n’a rien à voir. Avec des filets de porc sur le babek, c’est top! You guys rule, I feel sorry for the dog… xxx

  • David says:

    Thanks Catherine, nous sommes ravis d’avoir un si grand fan!

  • Gabriela says:

    Who would one need to refridgerate this salad? Doesn’t it get devoured?! I make a similar salad with bacon and grape tomatos. I’ve found that although it doesn’t store well, as you mentioned, it does reheat nicely. Sautee it with a bit of olive oil, then add some beaten eggs to the pan and vioila! A delicious frittata!

  • Brian says:

    Hi David and Rob, I shared this recipe with some friends last night and received many requests for the recipe. I’m directing them all here to discover your site…

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  • Chloe and Ramin says:

    Made this with a maui sweet onion, tarragon, italian parsley and dill. We boiled the potatoes for leftovers–thanks so much for that suggestion. It was delicious, and I’m sure will be just as good cold. What a keeper.

  • David says:

    Glad you enjoyed – have fun with it !