potato salad

Potato salad is a side dish often incorporated into barbeque dinners and summertime meals. The best potato salads are flavorful, says Allrecipes. Potato salad is usually prepared with a mustard and mayonnaise base, pickle relish, celery, and hard-boiled eggs. Some of the tastiest recipes call for onion, dill, and other items to enhance the taste. Speaking of flavor — there are many different ways to make potato salad, as Bon Appétit shows, but one ingredient is common in every recipe — potatoes.

Regardless of which type of potato you decide to use in your salad, adding flavor is essential for creating a delicious dish. Kitchn says that a common cooking mistake is neglecting to season the water while boiling potatoes. Kitchn divulges that you won’t get as much flavor if the potatoes are seasoned while dressing the salad or while the potatoes are cool. The key is to season as soon as possible.

What Does Salt Do For Potatoes?

potatoes in water pot

According to Bon Appétit, extremely salty water makes the best boiled potatoes. Why? Potatoes without seasoning are bland and flavorless, and salt adds delicious flavor. Potatoes are dense and require time to absorb some of the salt during cooking. That is why the salted water must be concentrated, claims Bon Appétit.

Adding salt to the potato water serves another purpose, too. Sieger Bayer, chef and partner at The Heritage explains that "Salting the water not only seasons the potato, but it also allows it to boil to a hotter temperature. This, in turn, cooks the potatoes’ starch more thoroughly, resulting in a more creamy texture [for mashed potatoes]. Cooking potatoes in unseasoned water prevents the starch from cooking thoroughly, and creates a bland, dense finished product. I would say not salting the water is like gifting a pair of shoes without laces. Or like offering guacamole without chips. All in bad taste." (via Cooking Light).

So, remember to grab the salt shaker the next time you decide to cook your favorite potato salad recipe. Your taste buds will thank you!