My favorite potato salad

Now that we live somewhere with a little outdoor space (a sweet little tiled deck), Rob and I have joined the ranks of People Who Grill. I’ve always been envious of people with grills, not least because all of the food magazines and websites are filled with grilling recipes and ideas and how-to articles starting in April or so and continuing all through the summer.

But one cannot live on grilled food alone, though lord knows some people try. I’ve been making a lot of this potato salad, since it goes with everything, can be made well in advance or right before you eat, is easy to throw together even if you’re distracted by a kitchen full of guests, is good hot, cold, or room temperature, is delicious the next day on a pile of arugula, and, since it doesn’t use mayonnaise, can be left out of the counter for hours or taken to picnics or the beach without risk of food poisoning. And it’s easy to scale up or down, depending on how many people you need to feed.

I’ve made a variation of this dish for years (inspired, most likely, by something Laurie Colwin wrote about), but this year I’ve started adding basil.Initially it was because I have some basil in my little container garden and I’m in a race to use it before the snails eat all of it, but I also really like the basil with the lemon and mustard.

A couple of tomato plants, lacinato kale, basil, mint, rosemary, lavender, and one lettuce that I need to repot before it keels over entirely

Mustard Potato Salad

  • potatoes, at least one large per person, scrubbed and cut into even chunks; I don’t bother peeling
  • grainy mustard, one heaping spoonful for every three people
  • juice of one lemon, plus the zest if you’re organized
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • handful of basil, chiffonaded

Put the potatoes on to boil. In a large bowl, whisk the mustard and lemon juice/zest together, then continue to whisk while adding olive oil in a thin stream until the dressing is the consistency you like. I like a high mustard-to-oil ratio; you may not. Salt to taste.

When the potatoes are done to your liking, drain them and add to the dressing. Stir to coat all of the pieces. Stir in the basil. Let sit for a few minutes to soak in the dressing.


  1. regina says

    This looks like a swell recipe (and just for the record, I adore Laurie Colwin’s writing and miss her voice terribly), so thank you for sharing it. One of my favorite things about grilling is that there aren’t any pots and pans to wash. Of course, one has to clean the grill, but somehow that seems to go more quickly.

  2. says

    Just found your site by accident and I love it. Especially the photo of your sausage plate ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be a new follower for sure!

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