I made this with The Cuban sandwiches from the other night. I didn’t really have a clearly defined “I want to make” inspiration – a problem I run into when I have restocked my pantry…which I just had. I knew I wanted potatoes, but had no desire to whip, mash or fry them. This left baked, which are good, but not really what I was looking for to go with the sandwiches and potato salad but I wasn’t feeling the whole mayo thing with the pickled vegetables I was already working with. But thinking on the potato salad sent me down a vinegar potato salad route, an area I have much experience in – warm German & Belgian potato salads I have made before.
But they weren’t exactly what I wanted, shocker! I wanted the texture of a potato salad potato – if you make it right you boil the potatoes with the skin on then peel and dice when cooled, this makes the potatoes firm and dry, they aren’t all water logged, and hold up to being dressed well. I used small Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled them in salted water until tender, drained, cooled until I could touch them comfortably, then quartered. I left the skin on, it gets a little damaged during the cutting, and the potato centers are cooked through, firm yet almost creamy.
While the potatoes cooled down a bit I made the dressing. I didn’t want any of the harshness the raw vegetables could bring so I opted to cook them quickly over high heat to sweeten them up in the crispy bacon and bacon fat. Oddly, when fresh and still the next day, the celery, a vegetable I usually mostly abhor, was my favorite part. Still crunchy but sweet with the vinegar and bacon…surprisingly awesome.
Dressed very simply after it is all tossed together with some fresh chives, red wine vinegar and olive oil. I served it warm the night I made it and was snacking on it cold, and just as delicious, the next day.
Warm Bacon Vinaigrette Potato Salad makes 4+ servings
- 2# Small Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 5-6 sliced Thick Cut Bacon, diced
- 1/2 medium White Onion, small dice
- 3 stalks Celery, small dice
- 1/2 medium Red Bell Pepper, small dice
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- 3-4 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 3-4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 bunch Fresh Chives, finely chopped
Wash the potatoes and place in a pot of salted water. Cook at a simmer until tender, drain and cool until you can touch them without burning yourself. Cut into bite sized pieces, quarters or eighths. Reserve until later.
Render the bacon until crisp over medium heat. When the bacon is crispy add the diced vegetables and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook the vegetables while stirring frequently. Cook until the garlic looses the raw smell and the onions are starting to take on some color.
Add the cut potatoes and toss it all together. Transfer to a bowl, season with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil & red wine vinegar and add chives. Mix together, taste and fix seasoning. Serve immediately, but it was kind o better the next day.
The vinegar is wonderfully tangy and I think any fresh herb, or a blend of them, would be good in place of the fresh chives. A very fresh and bright take on a side dish that is traditionally heavy but is still potato salad. Would also be good minus the bacon, just saute the vegetables in olive oil instead of the bacon grease and add some extra salt.
I had some pork leftover from the Cubans and the potato salad so the next day I diced up the pork tenderloin and sauteed in butter over high heat, added some of the potato salad and warmed it all up so it was like a very chunky hash. Fried a couple of eggs and put them on top. Exceptional and easy dinner! Or I guess breakfast, too.