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Harry Weir

O'Connell Family Recipe: Tom's Potato and Watercress Picnic Salad

This recipe from Tom O'Connell is a family favourite of the O'Connell's from Cullahill, Co. Laois and is extremely popular at the family's picnics.

Difficulty: Easy


  • 1kg floury organic potatoes (I use Carolus)
  • 100g watercress or land cress, carefully washed with any tough stalks removed

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons flat parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons spring onions, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pinch white pepper powder – my Mother’s secret ingredient
  • 175ml homemade mayonnaise
  • 75ml organic plain low-fat yoghurt – I use McNally’s
  • Juice of half a lemon, or to taste


  1. If possible, combine the mayonnaise, yoghurt, herbs and spring onions the evening before serving. Season and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to add a little bit of acidity for extra flavour – leave to ‘marry’ overnight in the fridge.
  2. The day of your picnic, peel the potatoes, chop to the desired size and steam in a proper steamer until cooked through – al dente potato salad is not a happy situation.
  3. Once the potatoes have cooled, combine with the dressing and check for seasoning – I always need an extra sprinkling of sea salt flakes and can never resist a little more powdered white pepper (for the memories).
  4. Place the salad in a large bowl, top with watercress and serve.

Photography: Harry Weir