Do you find golden-brown, crispy-skinned potatoes to be as utterly irresistible as I do? It’s very difficult for me to not start picking those steaming little golden jewels right off of the hot baking sheet and munching on them—-their crispy skin glistening with a light sheen of good olive oil, delectably seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper—-so I do. And I almost always burn my mouth. It’s not that I haven’t learned by now, it’s just that I consider the slight pain a small sacrifice compared to experiencing that aromatic, buttery baby potato just melt away in my mouth. Though a perfectly roasted baby potato truly does not need to have anything more added to it than some simple seasoning to make it delish, I really want to go all out on a savory limb and start talking crispy bacon, caramelized, red onions and a warm, bacon vinaigrette. Oh no, I didn’t.
Warm potato salad is just a whole different type of potato salad. The flavors that get mingled in get absorbed fully and the result is a peppery-sweet tanginess, truly mouth-watering. Bacon adds the crispy, smoky saltiness; the caramelized red onion, the slight sweetness; and the vinaigrette, a combination of all of the above. You know that cozy feeling when you wrap yourself in a toasty-warm comforter that just came out of the dryer? That’s what your taste buds experience when you eat a succulent, warm potato salad.
So here’s my idea of no-frills romance: my hubs and I sitting out on a porch swing in the evening watching the sun go down, taking bites of our warm, roasted baby potato salad between sips of a shared, perfectly ice-cold, thirst quenching beer that goes down oh-so smoothly. Ah… perfect relaxation. Is that summer I hear a callin’? Why, I think it just may be.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Warm, Roasted Baby Potato Salad with Crispy Bacon, Caramelized Red Onions and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
(Serves about 6)
Roasted Potato Salad Ingredients:
2 (1 ½ pound) bags yellow baby potatoes, either halved or quartered depending on size
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use, plus a drizzle for the baking sheet
1 teapsoon sea salt, plus a pinch, divided use
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 large red onion, quartered and sliced thinly
1 tablespoon sugar
6 strips apple smoked bacon, uncured, chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
-In a large bowl, add the halved (or quartered) baby potatoes along with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the 1 teaspoon of sea salt and the cracked pepper, and toss well to combine; drizzle a little bit of olive oil onto the foil lined baking sheet, and turn the baby potatoes out onto the baking sheet and roast for 35-40, or until golden-brown and tender; while potatoes roast, crisp the bacon and caramelize the red onion.
-In a medium-large non-stick pan set over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil; when hot, add the sliced red onion and the tablespoon of sugar, and toss to coat with a pair of tongs; cook/caramelize the red onions on medium for about 12-14 minutes, or until a golden, caramel color, and softened; once onions are caramelized, add the pinch of sea salt to them, stir to incorporate, and remove from heat; set aside and keep warm until ready to add to potato salad.
-Next, in a medium, non-stick pan set over medium heat, cook the bacon pieces until brown and crispy, and then remove them with a slotted spoon and onto a paper towel to drain; reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings, and set aside to use in the vinaigrette; keep the drippings warm.
-Once the baby potatoes are roasted, remove from oven, and allow them to cool for a few moments while you prepare the warm, bacon vinaigrette, below.
Warm, Bacon Vinaigrette ingredients:
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons reserved, warm bacon drippings
1 tablespoon olive oil
-In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients beginning with the apple cider vinegar through the salt; slowly drizzle in the bacon drippings while whisking, and then the olive oil; whisk until the vinaigrette is well combined.
-Add the warm, roasted baby potatoes to a large bowl, and then add the caramelized red onion, the crispy bacon, the chopped flat-leaf parsley and the vinaigrette; toss well to completely combine, making sure that all of the potatoes are well dressed; divide equally among plates, and serve while still warm.
*This potato salad is also quite delicious served cold, perhaps with the addition of spinach or arugula greens.