The Unexpected Ingredients That Will Transform Your Potato Salad

If there's a season for potato salad, it's summer. The popular side dish seems to pop up at every event during the season: picnics, parties, cookouts, holidays, and barbeques. There is always a time for this classic dish, especially when burgers and dogs are presented. 

And why wouldn't it when the variations of the ubiquitous accompaniment are virtually endless? There will always be purists who insist that good 'ole American potato salad shouldn't be messed with. These people believe that a boiled potato needs nothing more than mayonnaise, boiled eggs, celery, and onions. 

In reality, though, there are hundreds of ways to make and flavor a potato salad. Indeed, whatever flavors or cuisines you're highlighting in your meal can be translated into your salad. If anything-but-ordinary is your forte, check out this Korean potato salad recipe, or this vegan avocado potato salad recipe. For Francophiles, how about a lovely Sole Meunière with a French potato salad? Bacon, pesto sauce, curry powder, Parmesan cheese, dill, and almost any ingredient you can imagine has found its way into potato salad at one point or another. Then there are variations that come along that are so out-of-the-ordinary, that you can't help but first raise your eyebrow, turn your head to the side, and ultimately want to try them.

Taking a summer staple to haute cuisine

The Takeout highlights two New Orleans-based restaurants that are taking the classic potato salad to new levels. Picnic, Provisions & Whiskey first poach their potatoes and then fries them in hot and spicy fried chicken fat before dressing them up with white miso, lemon, and sea salt-infused Dukes Mayonnaise. The team at Commander's Palace gets their potatoes nice and crispy by roasting them at a high temperature. Once cooled, they are dressed in caramelized garlic that has been flamed with shiitake mushrooms and cognac. If that's not enough, the potatoes are splashed with liquified hogs head cheese. For those who are scratching their heads here (likely everyone), hogs head cheese is a mixture of pork scraps cooked down and molded in a loaf pan. It's typically served chilled as an accompaniment to cheeses and crackers (per Atlas Obscura). 

While most people may not have hot and spicy chicken fat or liquefied head cheese readily available in their kitchens, these dishes show that when it comes to everyone's favorite side dish, the sky is truly the limit and experimentation can be utterly delicious. With the endless possibilities, potato salad can easily transition from summer into whatever season you get the craving for dressed-up potatoes. In fact, don't be surprised if your side turns into the star of the meal.