Salad Potatoes are potatoes that are good for use in salads, as the term would imply.
They will be potatoes with waxy flesh. These potatoes, when cooked, can be chunked or sliced and have the pieces remain intact, especially when mixed in a salad, and not break apart. The potatoes also need to have good flavour when cold.
New potatoes are often used as salad potatoes, though new potatoes won’t necessarily have the full flavour of actual salad potato varieties.
Actual salad varieties (see listing at bottom of page) mature early in the season, and are typically harvested 13 to 20 weeks after planting.
In North America, it can be very hard to know what potatoes are good salad potatoes because unlike in the UK, sellers in North America don’t tend to list the variety of potato being sold to the consumer. You get sold a bag of root veg labelled “potatoes” (as if you hadn’t already hazarded a guess.) Generally, avoid Russet Potatoes — they are floury potatoes, and will break apart. Red skin potatoes tend to usually be waxy potatoes, and so okay. Yukon Gold potatoes are sort of in the middle, and while okay if there is nothing else, wouldn’t really be the first choice.
If there are any particularly large salad potatoes in the batch, cut them in half to make them more the size of the other ones.
Place them in a pan of cold water, bring to a boil, and start timing. Cook for 10 minutes.
Or, you can steam salad potatoes over boiling water, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes. When done, lift the steaming basket away, set it down somewhere, and cover the steaming basket with a clean tea towel for 4 minutes. The tea towel will keep them warm, but absorb the steam and excess moisture.
However you cook them, pour any dressing over them while warm, unless your recipe directs otherwise.
Gray, Jacquie. “Salad Potatoes” in RHS Plant Trials and Awards, Wisley Trials Office. London: Royal Horticultural Society. Bulletin Number 8. November 2004.
Larkcom, Joy and Roger Phillips. The Organic Salad Garden. London: Frances Lincoln Ltd. 2001pp 74-75.