Simple and delicious, this Lemon Rosemary Potato Salad is always popular! Is great for picnics, potlucks and parties because you don’t have to worry about mayonnaise going bad!
When I was growing up, Lemon Rosemary Potato Salad would have seemed quite strange. In fact, there was only one kind of potato salad as far as most people were concerned
German potato salad was the name of the game around our little neck of the woods, a small Wisconsin community where everyone knew everyone (and most everyone had a grandparent or a grandparent’s grandparent who was straight from, what they called, “the old country”). Like I mentioned, German Potato Salad was so popular, most of us didn’t even know any other kind existed.
It’s funny to think about how different life was back then. For example, almost every Sunday my mom would make a big bowl of the infamous German potato salad – she would simmer little red potatoes to perfect tenderness, then slice them somewhere between thick and thin. They were then immersed in a delicious sweet/sour dressing made with bacon fat (yes!), vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. There were no measurements; just a scoop of this and dash of that – then a tiny taste to see if things were just right or still in need of a bit of “adjustment”. Crisp, smoky bacon was sprinkled over the top along with a layer of sliced, hard boiled eggs. It was a mouthwatering sight with a beautiful garnish of fresh parsley and paprika.
There would also be some kind of simple, pretty jello mold and a big smoky ham (or a kettle of brats in beer) hanging out on the back of the stove. The aroma of chocolate cake or apple kuchen (a cinnamon-laced German apple cake) would waft it’s way through the house as we waited to see who would show up at the front door. It might be aunts, uncles and cousins, grandparents, or just old family friends. There were no formal invitations, everyone just knew they were welcome. I can still clearly recall the love and laughter shared around the table those long ago Sundays… and memories of that fabulous potato salad will linger forever in my mind!
These days, it’s only on rare occasion that I make German potato salad. I don’t make classic mayonnaise-based potato salad (sometimes called French potato salad) either. Most of the time it’s much lighter and leaner than either of those; but still full of flavor and memory-making deliciousness.
Just like my mom, I like to use the small red (or sometimes yellow) potatoes. I halve or quarter them before cooking, then simmer with plenty of salty water. The salt infuses the potatoes as they cook, instead of simply seasoning the surface. The rest is classic; a delicious dressing made of olive oil, fresh lemon juice and zest, Dijon mustard and garlic. Finely diced sundried tomatoes add lots of flavor and a shower of fresh rosemary and parsley are this dish’s crowning glory.
This Lemon Rosemary Potato Salad comes together quickly, is addictively delicious and perfect for picnics, parties and potlucks, since you don’t have to worry about the mayonnaise going bad. It’s also good the next day, tucked in an omelet, a quesadilla or a salad. But you probably won’t have leftovers, as it tends to disappear quickly – so be sure to make plenty!
- 3 pounds small red potatoes scrubbed, rinsed and cut in halves or quarters
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Finely grated zest from 1 medium lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Fill a large pot halfway full with water and 1 tablespoon salt (don’t worry, most of that salt stays in the water, but it does help to season the potatoes all the way through. Stir to combine, then add potatoes. Water should cover potatoes by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a steady simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender all the way through, about 15 minutes (they should pierce easily with a knife. Just be careful not to over cook or the salad will be mushy).
- Drain potatoes well in a colander, then return to pot.
- While potatoes are cooking prepare the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisking till oil and mustard are well incorporated
- Pour dressing over warm potatoes and stir gently to coat. Taste and season with sea salt or kosher salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl. I like to let the salad sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or so before serving to allow the flavors to meld and the dressing to absorb into the potatoes. Drizzle with just a bit more olive oil just before serving. Serve at room temperature or warm slightly in the microwave before serving.
Leftovers are wonderful in a green salad, an omelette or a quesadilla.