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Recipe: How to make the best potato salad

Potatoes are roasted and tossed with a creamy

Potatoes are roasted and tossed with a creamy herb dressing. Credit: Marge Perry

What would Labor Day be without potato salad? I mean, could we even celebrate without this essential dish?

Sadly, too may deli versions (and yes, a number of homemade ones, too) are pasty messes of overcooked, disintegrated potatoes and loads of mayo. We can do better.

As it happens, creating your best potato salad takes arguably less work and time, in part because you don’t need to peel the potatoes. Use small red (and/or gold) potatoes, and leave their thin skin on. Cut them in wedges and Do. Not. Boil. Simply toss them in oil, salt and pepper and roast. To get a brown, crisp exterior and creamy interior, be sure to roast them in a single layer, with some room between the pieces of potato. (If the potatoes are crowded, they will steam rather than roast, and will not develop the browned crust.) The result of good roasting technique is potatoes that hold their shape and have an appealing, and decidedly not mushy — texture.

While the potatoes roast, make the simple dressing. Toss the dressing with the potatoes and serve your all-time greatest potato salad warm, cool, or at room temperature.

All-Time Greatest Potato Salad

2 pounds small red potatoes, cut in 1/3-inch thick wedges

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons chopped chives

1 tablespoon sherry (or red wine) vinegar

1 medium bell pepper, cut in ½-inch dice

2 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)

2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and cut across in ¼-inch pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a large sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Toss the potatoes with olive oil, and when they are evenly coated, toss in the salt and pepper. Place on the sheet pan in a single, uncrowded layer, ensuring there is a little space between them. (Use two pans if needed.) Roast for about 28 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender and nicely browned on the underside. Remove from the oven and let cool about 10 minutes.

3. Whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, chives and vinegar together. (Reserve a bit of the chives and parsley for sprinkling over the salad at the end.)

4. Gently toss the potatoes with the dressing, bell pepper, scallions and celery.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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