Mom’s Secret Ingredient Potato Salad

I find it interesting that when we crave the foods that we do, and we all do it, at times it can be for nostalgic reasons. Take potato salad. Not something I really eat anymore nor have I made in years, but after a recent visit to my hometown, found myself craving it.

And by it, I mean my Mom’s version.


Like many of the things she cooked, I don’t know where the recipe came from, or if it was an original… she did after all, have a way with food. I’m guessing the years both during and after the war, when there was not much to cook with or eat, had much to do with her magnificent kitchen abilities. As we know, the sign of a good cook is someone who can make something out of nothing, also known as Italian ‘cucina povera’. 

After a bit of research to see what others put in their potato salad, while I found many of them similar and using some ingredients in Mom’s recipe, I found none using her secret ingredient of apples. Yes. Apples. 

The surprise sweetness & tang of biting into a piece of apple in potato salad adds a lovely je ne sais quoi, while most certainly elevating the taste and texture of the salad. While you may be thinking it’s a weird ingredient to add, trust me when I say that anyone who had the good fortune to taste my Mom’s version, loved it.

Next time you make potato salad and we all do have our fave versions, consider adding apple while also considering writing/typing any of your Mom’s recipes that you enjoy. You’ll be glad you did both~

Mom's Secret Ingredient Potato Salad
Serves 4
A summer staple with a surprise ingredient!
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  1. 2 lb waxy new potatoes, peeled, diced and either boiled or steamed until tender and still warm
  2. 2 TBSP approx. apple cider vinegar
  3. Big pinch of Kosher salt
  4. Pinch freshly ground pepper
  5. 3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced
  6. 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced, covered with water and soaked for 10 minutes, then drained
  7. 1 apple, your choice, peeled and diced
  8. 2 TBSP diced sweet pickle (or use green relish)
For the Dressing
  1. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1/4 cup thick plain yogurt
  3. 1 TBSP cider vinegar
  4. A pinch of sugar
  5. 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  6. 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. While potatoes are still warm, sprinkle with the vinegar and pinch of salt & pepper.
  2. If you don't have all the other salad ingredients ready, do so now while the potatoes cool.
  3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust to your liking.
  4. Combine all salad ingredients, pour over 2/3's of the dressing, and lightly combine (if it seems dry add more dressing).
  5. Cover and store in fridge at least for a few hours, preferably overnight.
  6. Add more dressing if necessary, garnish with sliced eggs, chopped chives or parsley and serve.
  1. Cut the potatoes, egg and apple in rather large pieces, approx. 1/2 inch, so they don't disappear - you really want to be able to taste them.
  2. Soaking the diced onion will make them milder, but if they're still not your thing, use chopped chives.
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