Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Not Your Mom's Potato Salad... with Olive Oil, Bacon and Shallots

Three years into our relationship, I have only just found out that Jamie doesn't like potato salad.  I suppose I never noticed him not eating potato salad at cookouts with friends, and I've never made it for him until recently.

So I was slightly appalled when he said he didn't like it, because to me, not liking potato salad is about as bad as not liking apple crumb pie with vanilla ice cream.  It's as crucial to a cookout as smoky fires that make your eyes water, deviled eggs, baked beans and burned marshmallows.  But I don't judge.  Well, maybe I'm judging, just a little...

He did admit that he liked my version better than the typical kind found at most BBQs, the kind swimming in a bowl of mayonnaise, mustard and hard-boiled eggs.  However, I like that kind, too.  I don't discriminate against potato salad, not even the plastic tubs from the grocery store deli.  It's all good.  It just tastes like summer should.

Potato salad also makes me feel slightly patriotic, which I suppose you've noticed in my red, white and blue styling theme.  I loved the view of the American flag from the top of the Will Rogers Shrine, which I mentioned in a previous post from our trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

So as I thought about a potato salad recipe to share with you all, I wanted to try something more unique, with unexpected flavors.  And seeing as how we were out of mayonnaise anyway, I had to get creative in the ingredients for the sauce.

The night before, we had cooked dinner very late - I don't remember what we were doing that evening that we got such a late start on dinner, but we had planned to braise short ribs, and if you've ever braised short ribs, then you know how long those take.  The short ribs were ready sometime around midnight, long after I'd fallen asleep on the couch, and the rich, meaty scent from the kitchen woke me up just barely enough to taste a few bites before falling into bed.  Boiled potatoes, intended for garlic mashed potatoes, were forgotten in their pot of water.  And so, with all those potatoes already cooked, making potato salad the next day just made sense.

First I cooked some bacon.  And then, in the sizzling bacon grease, I quickly browned some garlic and shallots, which created the most wonderful, intoxicating aroma.  For the sauce, a mixture of olive oil, sour cream, mustard, horseradish, honey and lemon was so much more interesting than mayonnaise, and a little basil added a welcome freshness.

Now, I know that potato salad is not normally a meal on its own, but after mixing it up and giving it a taste, the crispy bacon and bacon-infused garlic and shallots coating the potatoes seduced me.  So I decided a small bowl of it along with a glass of pink lemonade flavored with a sprig of sweet basil, would be the perfect lunch.  And it was...  until Jamie came upstairs and told me he didn't like potato salad.  Sigh.  But thank you for eating everything I make, whether you like it or not.  :)

Am I allowed to say I thought it was better than my mom's potato salad? Sorry, mom...

Potato Salad with Olive Oil, Bacon and Shallots
printable recipe
  • 1 1/2 pounds small red and/or white potatoes, unpeeled
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (I used spicy brown, but yellow or Dijon would work, too)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Quarter the potatoes; place in a stock pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook just until tender, but not falling apart.  Drain and cool.

In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp; drain on a paper towel and crumble into pieces.  Add the shallot and garlic to the hot skillet and cook in the bacon grease for 1-2 minutes until golden brown.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the shallot and garlic, draining off the grease.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, bacon, shallot and garlic.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients; pour over the potatoes and toss to coat.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yields 6 servings.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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