Malt Vinegar Potato Salad



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Malt Vinegar

Potatoes and Malt vinegar is a winning combination. I’ve known this ever since childhood when Dear Old Dad would take my sister and I to an English-themed Fish & Chips restaurant in Portland called Enry Beazley’s. They had malt vinegar on every table. The best part of the meal was when I’d finished my fish and there were a few vinegar-soaked fries left over. Since then, I’ve loved malt vinegar on fries, chips, baked potatoes, and in my potato salad!

Many potato salad recipes call for vinegar. Malt vinegar has a wonderfully distinct flavor and it works perfectly with a potato salad.

It’s all about the soak

A few years ago I saw a potato salad recipe that called for pouring a generous amount of vinegar over the steaming potatoes and letting it soak in as the potatoes cooled down. My first thought was “won’t that make the potatoes soggy?” The answer is no, it does not! In fact, it infuses so much flavor that I haven’t used another method since.

Gather your ingredients

My malt vinegar potato salad recipe is fairly basic, with just a bit of celery, green onion and pickle. You should feel free to add your favorite ingredients. Capers, hard-boiled eggs, red onion, and fresh dill would all be wonderful.

I like to gather and measure all of my ingredients before I start cooking. This reminds me to look through the full recipe before I start, to be sure I’ve got everything and there won’t be any surprises.


I like to use yukon gold potatoes for potato salads. You could use russets or even red potatoes. I find that gold potatoes have a smoother, creamier texture, and they are thin-skinned so there’s no peeling involved!

I aim for pieces that are around ¾” to 1″ in size. Of course, this is also a matter of personal preference. Just be aware that smaller pieces will cook faster, and larger pieces may take longer. As long as you give them a poke with a fork every few minutes to check for tenderness, you’ll be fine. You wan’t them just cooked through, so they don’t get overcooked (mushy).

Start from cold!

The best way to cook potatoes for salads or mashed potatoes is to place them in the pot BEFORE you heat up the water. Allowing them to heat up gradually helps them to cook evenly. Just start with cool water, salt and potatoes in a big pot, and put the pot over high heat. Allow it to come to a boil uncovered, then reduce the heat to medium and boil gently until tender. Depending on the size of your potatoes, they could be ready anywhere from 12 to 20 minutes after the boiling starts.

Prep the other ingredients

While the potatoes cook is a good time to get the other ingredients cut and ready to go.

This is completely optional, but I like to run my peeler over the celery ribs before I chop them up. This removes a few of the toughest outer fibers, making the celery more tender without ruining the crunch.

Chop the pickle to whatever size you prefer. I like buying the sandwich-sliced pickles, because they are super easy to dice up and there’s minimal skin to deal with.

Slice the green onions. If you love onions, use both the white and green parts. If you only like onions as a friend, just use the green parts for a milder onion flavor.

The Soak

As soon as your potatoes are just tender enough, pour them into a colander to drain all of the water, and then immediately pour them back into the pot or into a large bowl. Pour the vinegar over the still-hot potatoes and gently stir to combine. There will be some vinegar pooled at the bottom, so be sure to return to the bowl every few minutes while they cool, to give things a stir/toss and soak up all the vinegar.

The assembly

Mix up the dressing by simply putting the mayonnaise, pepper and celery seed into a bowl and mixing until fully combined. Set this aside while you assemble the rest of the malt vinegar potato salad.

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine. Pour the dressing over the top and fold to coat everything evenly. Taste for salt & pepper levels and add if you like!

Better off chilled!

Try to chill the malt vinegar potato salad in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. I like to garnish with some chopped parsley, green onion, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Food By Joe Recipe Malt Vinegar Potato Salad

Try Joe’s Malt Vinegar Potato Salad as a side dish with:


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