Italian Potato Salad

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 50m
  • Rating ****

Makes 6 servings

In taking the measure of a good home cook, many Italians might agree that among the criteria there would have to be the quality of the potato salad. Not that there is any mystery about what goes into it: It's just potatoes, salt, olive oil and vinegar. No onion, eggs, mayonnaise, herbs or other curiosities. But the choice of potatoes has to be right. Their flesh must be waxy smooth and compact, not crumbly; their color when cooked, warm and golden, like that of maize or country butter; their flavor fresh, sweet, and nutty, with no hint of mustiness. They should be boiled until fully tender, but without the least trace of sogginess. The slices must come off the potatoes whole, without breaking apart. They must be splashed with good wine vinegar when they are still hot so that they can soak up the aroma while their heat softens the vinegar..


  • 1 1/2 pounds waxy, boiling potatoes, either new or mature (try to buy those that are similar in size)
  • Good quality red wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil


Wash the potatoes in cold water. Put them in a pot with their skins on and enough water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring to a slow boil, and cook until tender, but not too soft. It should take about 35 minutes, less if you are using small, new potatoes. Refrain from prodding them too frequently with a fork, or they will become soggy, or break apart later when slicing them.

When done, pour out the water from the pot, but leave the potatoes in. Shake the pot over medium heat for just a few moments, moving the potatoes around, causing their excess moisture to evaporate. Pull off the potato skins while they are still hot.

Using a sharp knife and very little pressure, cut the potatoes into slices about 1/4 inch thick, and spread them out on a warm serving platter. Sprinkle immediately with about 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Turn the potatoes gently.

When ready to serve, add salt and a liberal quantity of very good olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more vinegar if required. Best served at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
by Marcella Hazan
Published by

Alfred A. Knopf,

a division of Random House Inc.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 5725

nutrition information per serving

104 calories; 2g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 7mg sodium; 20g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 2g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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