Lunchbreak: Dill Pickle Brine Potato Salad

Lindsay-Jean Hard author of COOKING WITH SCRAPS: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, Stems, and Other Odds and Ends into Delicious

You can find the book at: or or Read It & Eat


Tonight - November 9

Read It & Eat

2142 N. Halsted St.

6:30 p.m. - demo/talk/signing


Dill Pickle Brine Potato Salad

I spent far too many of my childhood years convinced that mayonnaise was gross, in part due to soggy, overdressed potato salad—and as a result I was skeptical of potato salad, too. Luckily, I finally learned the error of my ways—on both accounts—and have made up for lost time with a newfound love of lightly dressed potato salads, like this one, which is an amalgamation of many beloved recipes.

Serves 6 to 8

3 pounds baby potatoes, any large ones halved

1/3 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup dill pickle brine

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water. The potatoes are ready when a knife slides in easily, but the very center should still feel just a touch firm. This could take between 8 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. If your potatoes vary in size or type, fish the individual pieces out of the water to let cool as soon as they’re ready.
  2. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a medium-size bowl, along with the scallions, then immediately drizzle the pickle brine over the potatoes. Let the potatoes cool slightly. As they cool, toss them in the bowl a couple of times to help distribute the pickle brine and encourage it to soak in.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, and dill, along with a healthy pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  4. Once the potatoes have cooled, toss them with the dressing and adjust seasonings to taste.
  5. Serve immediately or let the potato salad hang out, covered, in the fridge overnight to let the flavors meld even more. It will keep for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Pickle brine is an incredibly useful scrap. Once you start using it—in salad dressings, in marinades, or to make more pickles—you might find yourself running out of it before you even finish all of the pickles.


Dill Pickle Brine Bloody Mary

Dill pickle brine is an essential part of a pickleback—a shot of whiskey chased by a shot of pickle juice—but its salty tang is welcome in other drinks as well, like Bloody Marys. I love a good Bloody Mary. In my mind, they should be spicy and packed with garnishes, like a salad in a glass.

For the unfamiliar, passata (tomato passata, or passata de Pomodoro) is basically pureed tomatoes; you can find it in glass jars near the canned or crushed tomatoes in higher-end grocery stores or Italian markets. I like it because it’s strained, and therefore a little thicker than canned tomatoes, so it’s a nice place to start this drink, which will be thinned out with pickle juice. If you can’t find it, simply substitute 3 cups tomato juice. If you’re planning ahead, consider making a batch of infused vodka (page 00) for these—with jalapeños, cucumber peels, or dill fronds.

Serves 6 to 8

1 jar (25 ounce) passata (see headnote)

1/2 cup dill pickle brine

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

2 teaspoons (or more!) hot sauce (I tend to use Cholula or Tabasco in these, but use what you like)

3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (optional)

1 1/4 cup vodka

Garnishes: celery stalks, olives, lemon wedges, dill pickles, other types of pickles, really anything that sounds good to you

  1. Mix together all of the ingredients, except the garnishes, in a pitcher, if you have one, or a large bowl, if you don’t.
  2. Prepare glasses with ice and any desired garnishes, then divide the Bloody Marys among them.


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