Austin-Style Potato Salad
By Heidi Allison
This is not your typical Texas potato salad—no mustard, pickled onions, relish or eggs make an appearance in this rendition. And, the type of potato, along with the texture in the finished dish, is changed up to reflect the German roots of this central Texas town—thin-skinned, red or white boilers are the tuber of choice rather than starchy, drier brown russets. An homage to the iconic BBQ joints I fell in love with in Austin, this dish makes a nice paring with air-fryer chicken wings, barbecued ribs, brisket or smoked sausage.
There are 4 caveats to follow when making this dish: do not brine the chiles longer than 24 hours; you are shooting for a light pickling that maintains a crisp texture. It's worth your time to make your own pickled jalapenos since commercial varieties tend to have a unappealing mushy texture. Test the heat level of your pickled chilies before adding them to the dish: if your chilies are still too spicy after you have removed the veins and seeds, the reduce the amount of chilies added to the recipe.
Cook the tubers till almost done, then set aside for the allotted time before dicing. This culinary technique allows the potatoes to finish cooking in their own heat, and cooling to room temperature before dicing ensures the tubers maintain their diced shape. To get the best flavor, allow this dish to sit in the fridge at least 4 hours (best overnight).
1/2 cup 6% distilled vinegar
1/2 cup water
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 heaping tsp. whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1heaping tsp. kosher flake salt
3 large jalapeños, stem removed
Place water, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt in a 2-pint mason jar, and shake till salt dissolves.
Prick the chiles on all sides, every inch, using the of a point of bamboo skewer, paring knife or fork.
Place chiles, standing upright and point down, into 2-pint glass mason jar. If chiles are not completely submerged in pickling liquid, top off with a bit more vinegar and cover with lid for 24 hours.
Remove chiles from brine and cut in half. Scoop out seeds and veins using a spoon or paring knife. (if you are sensitive, wear gloves before handling chiles.)
2 1/2 pounds small, red thin-skinned potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise (Best Foods or Hellmans)
4 Tbs. reserved jalapeño picking juice
2 tsp. Cracked black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c thinly sliced green onion, green and light green parts only; about 1 bunch
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill, about 1 small bunch
1/3 cup finely-chopped homemade pickled jalapeños
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Place potatoes in a large stock pot full of cold salted water and bring water to a boil. Cook till potatoes are soft in center but still have a bit of resistance—about 18 minutes. Do not overcook since the potatoes will finish off cooking while they cool down. When room temperature, cut into quarters and place into a large bowl and make dressing.
Mix mayo, pickling juice, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Place jalapeños, dill, green onion, flat-leaf parsley in a bowl over potatoes on edge, and dressing in the middle of potatoes. Toss gently till combined. Place in the refrigerator for about 10 hours. 24 hours is best to allow flavors to develop and textures to soften.
Dust with black pepper and a bit of freshly minced flat-leaf parsley right before serving.