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Cooking the Book: Austrian-Style Potato Salad

2012 August 8

In spite of his overwhelming love of my dill potato salad recipe, Mr. Kitchenette has been agitating for a mustard-based one this summer. I confess, I don’t really have a recipe for anything along the lines of the slightly mustardy summer classic one orders by the tub at the grocery store deli counter. When I came across this one in The Book, I knew it wasn’t entirely what he had in mind but knew he’d still be into it given his love of all things pickled, mustard-slathered or otherwise tangy.

This is a pretty unique potato salad, not really falling into either the mayo-based picnic standard category or the bacon-and-vinegar German-style category. It has elements of both, being comfortingly starchy and creamy but at the same time pleasantly tangy with the between the gherkins, mustard and vinegar. We had it somewhere between warm and room temperature with beer brats straight off the grill for a great quick dinner and I can see us making this one well into the fall with all manner of grilled meats.

The Good

On first read, this recipe might sound a little fussy, what with the draining and reserving and measuring and such. But in practice, it’s really quite easy. After the potatoes were cooked, there was barely a quarter of a cup of cooking liquid left and I made the dressing directly in the bowl I drained it into. The rest of the dressing comes together really fast and even the potato mashing was quick (and I even used the back of a fork rather than busting out the masher).

The Bad

We like it here at The Kitchenette, but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re making this for someone you don’t know well, be sure they are fans of vinegary, mustardy, pickled type things in general first.

The Leftovers

No literal leftovers, this one hits the portion-size nail on the head.

Austrian-Style Potato Salad

from Cooking for Two, 2011

The finished salad should be creamy and loose, with chunks of potato that keep their shape but are very tender. To maintain its consistency, don’t refrigerate the potato salad; it should be served within 4 hours of preparation.


1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup water

1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3 cornichons, minced

1 shallot, minced, 1 Tablespoon minced fresh chives


Bring potatoes, broth, water, 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 10-inch skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook until potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 15 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high and cook until liquid reduces and thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.

Drain potatoes in colander set over large bowl, reserving cooking liquid.  Set drained potatoes aside. Pour off and discard all but 1/4 cup cooking liquid (if there is not enough to make 1/4 cup, add water). Whisk remaining vinegar, oil and mustard inot cooking liquid.

Add 1/4 cup cooked potatoes to bowl with dressing and mash with potato masher or fork until a thick and chunky sauce forms. Gently fold in remaining potatoes, cornichons, shallot and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.

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