Salads
Comments 19

San Francisco-style Potato Salad – Updated

UPDATED Recipe

Am doing an update to the San Francisco-style Potato Salad (aka Herman’s Potato Salad) blog as I followed the suggestions of Paul Rogers, who commented on my original blog (see comment June 27th).    He remembers Herman adding thin slices of radish to it – I was quite skeptical on this as I don’t remember any type of crunch when I ate the potato salad and he didn’t say I was to cook the radishes.  I bought radishes, peeled and tried to slice them – too small to handle so I decided to grate the radishes (I used 9 radishes to 2 pounds of potato).  Also, he mentioned slicing the potatoes same as for scalloped potatoes (this was familiar the minute I read it).  Well, I have to say the salad now looks identical to Herman’s and I think the radishes brought the flavor as close as I can possibly get to the original recipe (the radish idea is likely the clincher for me).  I am happy with the recipe and hope you will be too, just in time for July 4th picnics.  And thank you Paul Rogers wherever you are – your input was the best!

19 Comments

  1. JC says

    Well it certainly looks like Herman’s. I will just have to try it myself. I did not ever think there were radishes in the potato salad, but will try it, cuz I really miss that salad.

    Jude

  2. Fran Donohue says

    Agreed, Herman’s did have the tinest crunch (I think you hit it perfect by grating it) and the potatoes were definetely slliced. Sounds like you have a winner here, I am just imagining I can taste it right now! Fran

  3. Hi!

    I am so appreciative of all you efforts! I just can’t forget the memory of this fabulous potatoe salad growing up in my native city San Francisco. I am going to try making this too. I do have to say that I tried Wills san Francisco pototoe salad at Costco but although the taste was close it was too wet. Thanks again, now if we could find some real old fashioned San Francisco for the great meals and atmosphere of old we could really be in hog heaven!!!!!!!!

    Linda

    • Linda,

      I am going to try Wills – have heard from several people that it is very, very close to Herman’s. When I have found the potato salad too “wet” I usually add a cooked potato to the store bought version – it seems to soak up the extra dressing! Let me know the results on trying my recipe – would love to hear from you!

      • Hi Claire!!!

        Thanks for the tip, but I will for sure make yours. I will let you know. I also want to explore your website further when I get some time soon. Take care!!!!!!!!

        Linda

  4. SANTIAGO says

    As a student at SFSU 1968-1971, I discovered Herman’s Deli early in the Fall of 1970…I was intrigued by the “Herman’s” title…as I always thought Delis were Italian named. Once inside I made the right choice of ordering a plate of Herman’s potato salad, some cold sausage and beer…after that I would make that 4 mile trip from campus at least once a week. Between 72-75 I was out if the country in Asia. When I returned in 1976…Herman’s Deli had shut its doors.

    • I am impressed you made it to Herman’s once a week – and how sad upon your return from Asia. As I have said before, it was THE best potato salad I have ever eaten!

  5. Hello again.

    Last year when I revisited your S.F. Potato Salad (aka “Herman’s) blog and read through all the comments including the one posted by Herman Voss who mentioned that no radishes were ever part of the original recipe, it got me thinking “what is another ingredient that would provide a light crunch?”. After a little thought, I came up with one idea. Scallions!

    So what I did was to clean and trim the white ends of 4 scallions (non “bulbous” ones) and sliced them in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Then I finely chopped the (approximate 2 inches) stalk up to where it begins to turn green. This results in a similar size and texture to the grated radishes I believe.

    One other ingredient I added was a “pinch” of chopped dill to the dressing. Maybe this came from my memory of the Herb’s Delicatessen version of S.F. Potato Salad, or from a delusion from my ever-failing memory, but I DID enjoy the end result none the less. Of course if anyone doesn’t remember a taste of dill, it can certainly be omitted. Sorry I didn’t measure my “pinch”, but it would probably be about 1/8 tsp or so.

    Anyway I know you like different options and ideas, so maybe the next time you make your fabulous potato salad, you may want to try this.

    Happy 2016 to you and your fellow bloggers.

    • Hi W.M.
      I like the idea of scallions – I don’t remember the taste of dill, but since I still can’t find that elusive ingredient I will try adding it as you never know “dill” could be that special taste I am looking for that makes it perfect! It would be so simple if Mr Voss would just give the world the recipe. Thanks for sharing your ideas W.M. and Happy New Year to you too!

      • Well considering you put such an “insane” amount of work in reproducing Herman’s Potato Salad to begin with, I am happy you to share any ideas I come up with (right or wrong) just in case I may have stumbled onto something. Let me know what you think when you make your next batch, ok?

        r

    • Louise says

      I have searched everywhere for this ”San Francisco Potato Salad” recipe for about 40 years…I lived in SF for 20 years and it was the only Potato salad I ate then….Thank you…I also remember the thin slices and a touch of Dill…but never could duplicate it…I think Scallions will do the trick too…Thanks so much…heartfelt! ♥

  6. Rick Donaldson says

    A couple of comments- As a youth, I used to get SF style potato salad at Lucca Deli on Valencia in the Mission District – they no longer sell it. Never went to (or tried) Hermans – but sounds very much like what Lucca sold. Ive heard from a couple sources that dill was an ingredient. The only commercial SF style potato salad available as of 2015 is made by Home Maid Ravioli in South City. As others mentioned its available at Mollie Stones and Rincon Market (in SF). Keep up the good work – Thanks. Rick Donaldson – Spokane, WA.

    • Thanks Rick – will have to try the potato salad using dill and see if that makes a difference. Good to know about the other local resources you mentioned. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Linda says

        I also did some research on Homemade Ravioli and found that they sell their products at farmers market location, the one near me at Stonestown on Sundays. I don’t know if they offer the S.F., potato salad there but will be checking to see!

  7. I grew up loving Herman’s too. An ingredient popped up from 50years ago and it is… CHIVES!!!! Maybe the answer to the crunch and the sharp issues?

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