My vegetable garden is a miracle of neglect. Most of the plants are self-sown from the compost pile. To pull a bountiful harvest of potatoes from the soil, as I did recently, seemed like an undeserved gift. There was only one thing to do: call up friends and feed them potato salad and boiled lobsters.

Despite seeming basic, potato salad elicits strong opinions. I was raised with the American mayonnaise-based version, and I remain fond of it. I have a distinct memory of a mayo-based potato salad a Southern friend made one summer afternoon in the late 1980s. It was spiked with tangy green pimento-stuffed olives. My husband was raised by a German mother, and he introduced me to her vinaigrette-based version in which Yukon Gold potatoes are boiled, peeled, thinly sliced and dressed while still warm. The dressing is made with beef bouillon and vinaigrette, minced onion, white pepper and salt.

In early summer, I had the potato salad of my dreams. Creamy mayo mellowed the sharp vinegar, and the salad was luxurious with leeks. Michel Richard, one of my culinary heroes, created it. His book Happy in the Kitchen is gorgeous and full of innovative ideas. I've cooked from it, but I've spent more time dreaming over it.

I tasted Richard's potato salad at the Dine with Design event at the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan. It was a laid-back, high-end "picnic" in which guests wandered the beautiful grounds and toured the Glass House, the subterranean art gallery and the light-filled sculpture gallery, and ate delicious food prepared by several chefs featured in the book Harvest to Heat by Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer. Those chefs included Le Farm's Bill Taibe, whose fresh ripe strawberries and crunchy, salty-sweet granola upstaged the smoked foie gras he served with them — as unimaginable as that seems.

Meeting your culinary hero can disappoint. Chef Richard, despite his reputation for being a great character and raconteur, received my compliments about Happy in the Kitchen with the warmth of yesterday's cold potatoes. His executive chef David Deshaies was more responsive. He shared the method of Richard's potato salad. Make a dressing of vinegar, mayonnaise, kosher salt, a little sugar, a little soy sauce, and a touch of Tabasco. Steam chopped leeks for five minutes. Steam Yukon Gold potatoes until tender, peel and cube while still warm, pour the dressing over them and toss.

My fresh-from-the-earth, red-skinned potatoes were a more than acceptable substitute for store-bought Yukons. Instead of leeks, I used raw scallions. They gave a sharper flavor and crunchier texture than Chef Richards' soft, expensive, leeks. What's your favorite potato salad? Let the spud wars begin.