My Chef-Husband Cracked the Code to the Best Creamy, Tangy, Never Ever Mushy Potato Salad

Chef Luke's potato salad with fava beans

Potato salad is the ultimate summer side. If you're hosting a BBQ, pool party or potluck and don't have creamy tater salad on the menu—you're doing it wrong.

I grew up loving my Aunt Maureen's version so so much. To me, there was no topping hers and it was all because of the dressing. It was thick, luscious, tangy, mayo-based and was so good I wanted to lick it straight off the spoon.

Years later when I asked her the secret to her potato salad she told me Miracle Whip and pickle juice. I must admit that I almost went straight to the store to buy the sugar-laden salad dressing but instead, I asked my chef-husband Luke what was in his favorite potato salad recipe.

"NOT Miracle Whip," he replied. (No shade, Aunt Mo, I still think yours is the GOAT.) "I prefer a potato salad with crème fraîche, mayo, mustard and beans—fresh fava beans or similar," he said.

Clearly, my next question was: "Can you make it for me?" Here's what happened when I followed him into the kitchen to do just that.

Related: The Best Way to Make an Egg Salad Sandwich According to My Chef-Husband

Ingredients for My Chef-Husband's Potato Salad

Chef-approved potato salad ingredients<p>Kelli Venner</p>
Chef-approved potato salad ingredients

Kelli Venner

Given that Luke is a chef, he has an unfair advantage, ingredient-wise. He was able to get his hands on these beautiful Magic Myrna potatoes, which are a type of fingerling potato from Alaska with a creamy, buttery texture and reddish-yellow skins. If you can't find them near you, regular fingerling potatoes or baby red potatoes work too.

He also had some fresh pre-shucked fava beans from his restaurant that he added for a nice pop of freshness in the potato salad. Scallions and fresh dill were added to the mix and for the dressing, he reached mayo and mustard, along with a tub of crème fraîche (his favorite potato salad binder), cornichon pickles and some apple cider vinegar.

How to Make My Chef-Husband's Potato Salad

The first task Luke assigned me after a brief demo was peeling the potatoes, which is no small feat when the potatoes are this small! Honestly, this was the most labor- (and time-) intensive part of the whole recipe but he kept reassuring me the work would be worth it.

Peeling itty-bitty fingerlings for potato salad<p>Kelli Venner</p>
Peeling itty-bitty fingerlings for potato salad

Kelli Venner

Once the potatoes were peeled he placed them in a large pot of cold salted water. "This is how the French do it," he said, "the way I was taught."

I immediately realized I'd been making potato salad wrong my whole life, plopping the spuds into a pot of boiling salted water but Luke told me if you add them to a pot of boiling they'll absorb too much water, break down and lose their integrity—resulting in mushy potato salad. To cook the potatoes properly, he slowly brought the potatoes to a simmer for about 15 minutes, then tested them with a fork to ensure they were tender.

Potatoes slowly simmering in salted cold water<p>Kelli Venner</p>
Potatoes slowly simmering in salted cold water

Kelli Venner

Then he set about chopping some scallions and dill and added this to a bowl with the fava beans. He also came back with a little container of homemade tartar sauce he found in the fridge saying that would be our base because it already had briny potato salad-worthy ingredients like capers, pickles and vinegar mixed in.

Scallions, favas and dill for potato salad<p>Kelli Venner</p>
Scallions, favas and dill for potato salad

Kelli Venner

Luke added a couple more spoonfuls of mayo, mustard and crème fraîche to the tartar sauce, then gave that a mix and threw in a few douses of hot sauce for a kick.

"Only add the wet mixture once the warm potatoes are in the bowl," he tells me, "not before the potatoes go in or it will pickle the beans." After slicing the potatoes, in they went followed by the dressing.

The makings of the perfect potato salad<p>Kelli Venner</p>
The makings of the perfect potato salad

Kelli Venner

His final tip was to start light with the dressing. "You can always add more later but it's hard to make potato salad less wet," he tells me. After a few good stirs and a bit more dressing, it was finally ready.

My Honest Thoughts on My Chef-Husband's Potato Salad

I'm never eating potato salad without beans again. Favas FTW! With every mouthful of creamy potatoes, there was a crisp bean pop that worked so well with the tangy dressing. I also got bits of pickles, capers and those fresh dill fronds with every enjoyable bite, making me reach for a second (and yes, a third) helping.

The best part about Luke's potato salad was that it was even better the next day, although I'm shocked we had leftovers TBH. This dish is a total Memorial Day or summer BBQ side dish flex. Show up with this elevated take on potato salad and watch as the compliments roll in.

Chef Luke's potato salad with fava beans<p>Kelli Venner</p>
Chef Luke's potato salad with fava beans

Kelli Venner

Related: My Chef-Husband Made Me the World's Best Breakfast Sandwich and My Mornings Are Forever Changed

Top Tips for My Chef-Husband's Potato Salad

1. Peel your potatoes. "It's better to peel the skins off so they're more porous when the warm potatoes come out and soak up the dressing better," Luke tells me, adding that potato salad is more enjoyable to eat and has a better texture when the skins aren't slipping off mid-bite.

2. Simmer those spuds. I already touched on this one but it's arguably Luke's #1 tip when it comes to making the best potato salad and will have you winning all the potluck wars this summer. One more time for the people in the back: Start them in cold water and simmer (don't boil) your potatoes!

3. Use what you have on hand. Don't have crème fraîche? Go with a half mayo half mustard blend. Can't find fava beans? Try haricot vert, wax beans or any other fresh beans from the farmers' market. Not into dill? Microgreens, basil and cilantro also work well in potato salad. You could even throw in some hard-boiled eggs for extra protein if you like.

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