If ever there was a season that could perfectly pair with the simple decadence of a cool, creamy, rich and savory potato salad, then I can’t think of a better one than summer with all of the grillin’ and chillin’ that goes on. And if there isn’t a big, beautiful bowl of potato salad placed snuggly amongst the spare ribs, the baked beans, the BBQ’d chicken legs, the slaw and the cornbread on that glorious summertime buffet-table, then something’s definitely missing. Because when it’s time to throw a little backyard shindig, a cozy BBQ or grilling party, then inviting the humble-yet-perfectly-delicious potato to the party is a must; especially in the form of an easy, breezy, cheesy, can’t-have-just-one-bite potato salad, loaded up with all of the favorite, tasty trimmings. It’s kinda like the beloved “loaded” baked potato, only in cool, potato salad form. And as Ina Garten often asks, “How bad can that be?” My question exactly.
I could easily make a meal out of a classic, hot baked potato gently sliced open and fluffed up, and filled with creamy, silky sour cream, chives, cheese and crumbled bacon. It’s a little comfort-food meal, perfect for the cooler months. But with the warmth of the summer time filling the afternoons and evenings, those same, savory flavors tossed lovingly together in cool salad form seem to fit the bill a little better. I love the familiarity of a classic favorite — the loaded baked potato — prepared in a way that is new and just a bit surprising, yet contains all of those elements that are enjoyed and expected, but with a more refined twist. Deliciously comforting and cool as can be, bite after decadently savory bite.
So if the invitation goes out to you to bring a tasty staple item to a fun and festive backyard gathering that involves some grillin’ and chillin’ set around a table filled with some summer-season goodies, then bring along your friend, the humble-yet-scrumptious potato, in “Loaded Baked Potato” Salad form. Just think of it as a familiar friend in cool new digs.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
“Loaded Baked Potato” Salad with Crispy Prosciutto in a Sour Cream ‘n Chive Dressing, with Sharp Cheddar
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(Serves about 4)
12 baby Yukon Gold (or small yellow potatoes), cut into bite-size pieces
• Olive oil
• Cracked black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
• Sour Cream ‘n Chive Dressing (recipe below)
12 slices prosciutto, crisped and chopped (*see note)
½ cup extra sharp white or yellow cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup chives, finely minced
(*To crisp prosciutto, heat a large, non-stick pan over medium-high heat, and add in just a drizzle of olive oil; one the pan is hot, work in batches by adding a few slices of the prosciutto, and allow them to crisp for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown, like bacon; drain on paper towels, and once cool, chop.)
-Preheat the oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with foil plus a drizzle of olive oil.
-To a large bowl, add the cut potatoes along with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, a couple of good pinches of salt and cracked black pepper, the garlic powder, onion powder and the paprika, and toss everything to coat well; turn the potatoes out onto the baking sheet, and bake/roast for about 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and tender; allow the potatoes to cool.
-To prepare the salad, add the Sour Cream ‘n Chive dressing along with about half of the crisped and chopped prosciutto, the grated cheese, and about half of the minced chives; toss to coat the potatoes well, and garnish with the remaining prosciutto and chives, plus a twist of cracked black pepper, and keep refrigerated if not serving immediately, for up to 4 hours; if preparing ahead, prepare all of the components and keep them separate, and store in the fridge; when ready to serve, then toss ingredients together, garnish, and serve cold.
Sour Cream ‘n Chive Dressing ingredients:
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 clove garlic, smashed
• small pinch of salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup chives, finely minced
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
-Add all of the ingredients through the Dijon mustard to the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few moments until very smooth and creamy; pour the dressing out into a bowl, and fold in the minced chives and chopped parsley, and whisk to combine; refrigerate until ready to use.