Aaron Franklin's Herbs Of Choice For Perfect Potato Salad

If you're looking for advice on barbecue — or on sides to accompany barbecue — there's nobody better to consult than James Beard Award winner Aaron Franklin. He's the chef-owner of top-rated Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, and his slow-cooked barbecue is so popular that his restaurant's hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am until "SOLD OUT! (2 or 3 pm)."

Franklin recently told People that his longtime favorite potato salad recipe is "the perfect summertime side dish," due in large part to the fresh vibrant notes that his triple herb combo lends to the rich, creamy dish. Fresh flat-leaf parsley, fresh dill, and fresh chives add bright, herbaceous flavor to Franklin's potato salad, and they're the ideal foil for his slow-smoked brisket.

In fact, Franklin's potato salad is the perfect example of a balanced side dish: Perfectly cooked, fork-tender potatoes are enriched by mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk, and the trio of herbs lifts up a dish that could otherwise come off a bit heavy.

Customize your potato salad

While Franklin's choice of parsley, dill, and chives makes his potato salad a classic, you're not compelled to follow his lead. Instead, head out to the garden (or your market's fresh herb section) and feel free to build your own herb flavors to suit your preferences or show off what's growing best at the moment.

You could opt for a simple flavor like basil or select an herb that's a little more unusual, like lovage, a strongly-flavored herb that tastes something like a cross between parsley and celery. Or you could pick a different herb variety, like lime basil or lemon thyme to show off delightfully unexpected flavors, especially if you throw in a little lemon or lime zest. The key to Franklin's versatile potato salad really is the use of fresh herbs, though. You won't get the same vibrant effect from dried herbs, because what balances the side dish so beautifully is the lively pop of flavor only fresh herbs can provide.