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Article

Choosing the best potatoes for salads

Fine Cooking Issue 52
Photo: Scott Phillips
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The best potatoes to use in potato salads are those with a low to medium starch content — often called waxy or sometimes salad or boiling potatoes. Compared to starchy baking potatoes that fall apart and turn mealy when cooked, lower starch potatoes keep their shape and remain creamy with just the right amount of tooth to hold up in salads. They also tend to have a more distinct flavor than baking potatoes.

The most common low-starch potatoes are the red-skinned varieties, sometimes labeled Red Bliss. Other low-starch choices include white varieties like California long whites and Maine or Kennebec potatoes. Medium-starch options include Yukon Golds and Yellow Finns. Many specialty potatoes labeled as fingerlings, heirlooms, or “gourmet” potatoes have a low to medium starch content, and some come in hues of rose, pink, gold, and even purple, so your salad will be pretty as well as delicious.

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