This is a BlueBoots Kitchen favorite, and as it is now that in-between time in early August when hot days of July are becoming a memory and we’re remembering how harsh the last winter was, we may have time to squeeze in a few more outdoor cookouts with friends and family.
Picture this: summer BBQ, smell of the grill, sun rays beaming, juicy corn and grilled vegetables, the prospect of cool watermelon, ice cream, popsicles and laughter of friends… salads, chips, dip, and…this potato salad.
Growing up, I usually avoided the potato and pasta salads. I wasn’t a fan of cold foods in general, and the pasty color of those salads didn’t pique my appetite. Plus, the very presence of the duo of P salad sides meant they surely accompanied outdoor BBQing, which meant that they were sitting out in the sun all.day.long. People so often get food poisoning from food that spoils so easily if left to their natural devices (I’ve heard so many stories of college or medical school graduations and how fancy food spoils, which is such a shame for a fancy, white-glove catered event). So, I never wanted to eat any salad that had mayo in it. I’d like to enjoy the rest of the party, thank you!
So, when asked to make a potato salad, i knew I had to make something that would NOT spoil, that would be so delicious, and take people by surprise. Here it is. This feeds about 40-50 people with smaller side portions. Note: If cooking for a smaller group, reducing the amount of potatoes, cutting the red onion in half, and only slightly altering the amounts for the sauce should do the trick.
The lineup of ingredients used to dress the potatoes includes:
-red wine vinegar
-maine maple champagne mustard
-organic ketchup (high fructose corn syrup-free)
– 8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
-4 stalks of green onion
-8 stalks-worth of cilantro leaves
-1/2 a red onion
-Extra virgin olive oil
-lemon-infused olive oil
-freshly-ground black peppercorns
I included the ingredients throughout in bold typeface to find them easily as well.
Once all the ingredients are out and within easy reach, start prepping the fresh ingredients.
Set one 5 pound bag of red potatoes to boil. This will take about 35-40 minutes. I boiled them in a large pot with a pasta strainer so I could easily get them all out when they are done.
You will need a 1/2 a red onion, and finely chopped. Next, using the dressing ingredients above, you will prepare a dressing and toss with the red onions. This is the whole heart of the flavors of the potato salad. I approximate the amounts of each ingredient here to give you an idea, but chef’s tip: be sure to taste as you go and add what may be needed.
In a separate bowl, combine:
–sea salt – 2 tsp
–red wine vinegar – 5 tablespoons
–sweet relish – 2 tablespoons
–maine maple champagne mustard – 2 heaping tablespoons
–dill – 1/4 tsp
–organic ketchup (high fructose corn syrup-free) – 2 tablespoons
It should look opaque, not runny, and fairly thick. It is surprising that what looks like a small amount of dressing will actually coat the whole of the potatoes, but it does. Dressing the chopped red onions with this rich flavor helps add more surface area with which to distribute the dressing on the potatoes.
Next, finely chop 4 stalks of green onion (just the green parts)
Chop the leaves of a handful (about 8 stalks worth) of cilantro.
Combine cilantro and green onions with the dressed red onions. Chef’s Tip: You can preserve your cilantro for 2 weeks by trimming the ends, putting them in a cup of water, and then covering with a ziploc bag in the fridge.
Once the potatoes are done boiling, take them out of the boiling water carefully – they will be very hot and they retain heat for quite a while. Use tongs if that helps. Rough chop into quarters – the potatoes will be soft, so they will naturally form into smaller pieces as you mix later.
Combine potatoes in the bowl with the onions and dressing in stages, mixing well but being careful not to mash the potatoes (so mix with care!). Amply add freshly ground black pepper. For a little added moisture, I use lemon infused olive oil that TJs has now. About 4 tablespoons works well!
Next, fry up some bacon. You want them to be crispy! I like to use this one because it is already cooked, crisps quickly and has a very nice apple-smoked flavor.
I added another tablespoon or so of this EVOO.
Mix in the chopped bacon, and there you have it! Fresh, mayo-free, will last in the heat of the sun: Summer’s Best Potato Salad.
I hope that you enjoy, keep this on hand, and share this recipe with friends and family!
P.S. If you’re on Pinterest, pin this for later and I’d love to see you there!