The Double-Duty Secret Ingredient In Bobby Flay's Texas Potato Salad

Food personality Bobby Flay knows how to amp up the flavor of any dish, and he uses one of his secret weapons when making his Texas potato salad. If you've ever seen Flay in competition, you know one of his go-to ingredients is pickled red onions. Pickling takes the raw edge off the onion, making them more palatable, and also allows for the onions to add a bit of acidity, which is a welcome addition to this dish.

When Flay is making his famous Texas potato salad, per Food Network, he likes to prepare the pickled red onions the night before he assembles the dish. But letting them sit for an hour or two will work well, too. That way they get slightly softer. For this recipe, Flay uses a simple mix of red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and mustard seeds as his pickling liquid, which turns into flavor gold that will help boost the entire dish. Being the clever chef that he is, Flay uses not only his pickled red onions in his Texas potato salad but their liquid as well.

Pickling liquid perks up potato salad

Flay recommends adding a few tablespoons of pickling liquid to the vinaigrette base for the potato salad. Not only will the liquid punch up the flavor of the salad, but it will also help thin out the mixture of mayo and mustard so that the dressing can coat the potatoes more evenly. Flay also likes to use two types of mustard –- Dijon and stone-ground –- for this dish, and these ingredients play off the mustard seeds in the pickling liquid. 

Feel free to experiment with how you make your pickled red onions like Flay. He's been known to add cilantro, vinegar, olive oil, and honey to the onions and let them set for a while. Flay also likes to mix vinegar with lime juice and a touch of grenadine to his pickled onions, which get a bit of sweetness and a boost of color thanks to the grenadine.