However, having given a shout-out to my favorite traditional rendering, I have to tell you about the salad that blew my traditional socks off. I bumped into it on the internet one day while searching for the perfect recipe to co-star with a grilled cheese sandwich (tune-in May 7 to read all about that delicious episode!). I had potato salad on the brain and was on the hunt for the perfect recipe (I think I'd only made it once before and not very well). When I came across this "Best Ever Potato Salad" it had two things in particular going for it:
1) Challenge was calling my name with the "Best Ever" title tacked on there.
2) It came from the Brown Eyed Baker, who has won my respect through one delicious recipe after another.
The main problem confronting me was the fact that it called for red potatoes, which I was sure I had none. After berating myself for not buying some on my last shopping trip and searching a bit more, unsuccessfully trying to rid the "Best Ever" salad from my mind, I decided to take a culinary leap of faith and make the salad using regular old russets. To my great delight and surprise, upon entering the pantry I found not only a stack of russets, but a bag of reds as well- it seems I had not failed myself at the grocery store after all.
After this, the fact that I had no celery or green pepper seemed inconsequential. I boldly chose instead another green item- a pickle. Pickles are often used in potato salad, I thought, so why not? It worked perfectly, in fact, I think I'm going to keep it that way in my version.
The absolute best part of this salad is the inclusion of, yes, you guessed it...BACON. And, even better, the dressing is mixed in the pan with the bacon drippings!!
I can testify, this step gives the salad a whole new dimension- this bold, bacony flavor pervading all. This recipe truly would not be worthy of the "Best Ever" category without the bacon. On second thought, what recipe would?
So, be brave and skip Mom's (or Grandma's...or whoever's) salad, just for tonight (but be forewarned- it's addicting!). And don't be surprised if your bold and delicious potato salad doesn't go down in the books as the new "Best Ever Potato Salad" on the block.
Best Ever Potato Salad
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
makes 6-8 servings
4 cups cubed red potatoes
1 TB olive oil
10 slices turkey bacon (if using pork bacon, reserve 2 TB drippings in the pan and omit olive oil)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 TB dijon mustard
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 baby dill pickles, chopped
In sauce pan, cover potatoes with water and boil until fork tender, 8 to 10 min.
Fry bacon in olive oil until crisp. Remove and blot with paper towels. Crumble or chop.
Add mayonnaise, mustard, sugar and salt to bacon drippings and oil in pan. Stir until smooth, scraping pan to include bacon bits.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, eggs, pickles and dressing. Stir to coat. Stir in bacon.
Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.