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
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(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.