The Humble Potato Salad …

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Summer is on its way in the southern hemisphere and, therefore, so is the barbecue.  In the next six months, I am sure most of you will be invited to, or will host, one.  And at most Australian barbecues, there will be a bowl of potato salad.

If the barbecue is to be a large affair, quite often the host will ask the women (sexist, I know) to bring a salad.  This post is for those who are allocated the potato salad this summer.

We have all been to barbecues where there is a bowl of overcooked potatoes stuck together with commercial mayonnaise.  You know the ones: it is nearly impossible to get the spoon in or out because everything is glued together.

The perfect potato salad should have nicely cooked, individual pieces of potato (which are not broken), with some colour and taste contrast, and be lightly coated in a creamy dressing.

This is how I make potato salad.  Even if you have your favourite recipe, it is worth a read as I have included a few tips on how to ensure your potato salad is not gluggy.

The dressing I use comes from my sister Juanita’s pasta salad recipe.  It works perfectly on potatoes.

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  • 1 kg of gourmet (small) potatoes
  • 4 whole rashers of bacon
  • bunch of spring onions, green part only
  • about ½ bunch of parsley


  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup French dressing (homemade or commercial)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and coarsely ground black pepper


  1. I don’t peel my potatoes.  The main reason is because the skin helps hold each piece of potato together.  The skin also gives the potatoes a rustic look which I quite like.
  2. Wash and dry the potatoes then cut them in half.  If some potatoes are a bit bigger than others, cut them into thirds.  You want pieces the same size, about 1 inch to 1½ inch cubes.
  3. Put the potatoes in a pot big enough so that the potatoes are all on one layer.  If you  are making a large salad, use 2 pots or cook the potatoes in rotation. Having only one layer of potato ensures the potatoes cook evenly.  We don’t want some going to mush whilst they wait for others to cook.
  4. Cover the potatoes in water, bring to the boil and cook until a skewer goes through cleanly. Don’t stir the potatoes, as stirring may break them. Watch them carefully.  Do not let any pieces get so soft they begin to fall apart.
  5. Take the potatoes off the heat and rinse under cold water to stop them cooking.
  6. Set aside to cool. Do not refrigerate – fridges and cooked potatoes are not a good combo.
  7. Cook the bacon until nice and brown and crispy then set aside to cool.
  8. Put all the dressing ingredients into a screw top jar and shake until well combined.
  9. When cool, chop up the bacon into 1 cm pieces.
  10. Chop the parsley finely, reserving a few leaves as decoration.
  11. Snip or slice the green parts of the spring onions finely.
  12. Put about a third of the potatoes into the bowl, add about a third of the bacon, onion and parsley then pour some dressing over them.
  13. Repeat until all ingredients are used, reserving a small proportion of onion and bacon for the top.
  14. Using your hands, gently lift the ingredients to combine everything together.
  15. Again, using your hands, transfer to a clean bowl and top with the reserved bacon, spring onion and parsley.
  16. Sprinkle with salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
  17. Enjoy the barbecue.

10 thoughts on “The Humble Potato Salad …

  1. Yep, I have to confess, I’ve asked friends to bring a salad, and been asked as well. Love the idea of sour cream and French dressing, sounds really good! Are you using dried oregano or fresh?
    I usually dress my potatoes with Greek yoghurt, garlic and multigrain mustard. It’s really yummy but I find the potatoes suck up the dressing and they do indeed go gluggy when its time to eat. I’m trying this next time x

    • Hi Lisa, this is dried but it could be replaced with a tablespoon of fresh. I like the idea of yoghurt and garlic. There are so many possibilities, the only rule is: don’t use horrid commercial mayonnaise – geez I hate that stuff!

  2. Yum, a few tips I will use, and a recipe to add to my repertoire 🙂 We eat potato salad all year round but in winter it tends to be left over baked potatoes dressed with oil, balsamic, mustard and whatever is to hand but in summer we eat creamy potato salad. My current recipe, which we always have on Christmas Day is similar to yours, is a traditional family recipe with sour cream / creme fraiche / cream, good mayo, mustard, white pepper, shallots, peas and sliced boiled eggs, perfect with prawns, cold ham and roast chook 🙂 I can almost taste your potato salad, looking at the pic, with a bbqed steak.

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