No sour cream, no mayo, no celery, no peppers, no dill.
Those were just some of the requirements I faced every time I brought up the topic of potato salad. Add to that a husband that just doesn’t eat cold food in general and potato salad, something I’ve loved since childhood, has pretty much been eliminated from my life unless I get to enjoy it at someone else’s house. My desire to conquer this emptiness in my life (hello, pregnancy craving) recently took over my schedule, so as you may notice I entirely missed my standard Monday post. Gratuitous picture of adorable child to make up for it:
Seriously, what one-year-old asks every morning to get dressed and have his hair done, and is then this happy about being conscripted into mass-production baking? He’s even getting half decent at dumping and stirring and not turning on the mixer when the beater is up out of the bowl.
Anyway, potato salad. Probably 4 years ago or something ridiculous, at my big sister’s house, we had an amazing warm potato salad, unwrapped from foil off the grill, and it was out-of-this-world delicious. Not being much of a cook at the time, I praised it, ate more than my fair share, and didn’t ask for any details. When I finally did remember to ask, about 3 years later, she gave me the blank stare you might expect from someone being asked to recall something they made as a side dish at a barbecue 3 years ago.
She figured she’d just “thrown something together”, her usual style of cooking which invariably results in some of the most delicious dinners I’ve ever eaten. I took to the internet, thinking this would be an easy fix, but you try finding a potato salad, warm or cold, that doesn’t mention either sour cream or mayonnaise, or things I don’t have like dried celery root, or things I straight up don’t like, like dill. It isn’t easy for the best of googlers, of which I consider myself one.
So, following the lead of my big sister (always a good life choice), I “threw something together”, but took the time to write notes before and along the way so I wouldn’t have to do this whole process again should I succeed.
It literally tasted exactly like I’d hoped it would, and can be served warm, room temperature, or cold. Our guests loved it, I loved it, and Carl loved it – even if he did declare that it wasn’t actually potato salad, but needed a different name. I pointed out all the salad ingredients – tomatoes, Ranch dressing, bacon – and he decided that, potato salad or not, he would continue to eat it.
This is so easy, super flexible, and also make-ahead friendly, oven friendly, and barbecue friendly, all of which likely makes it very camping-friendly, so I anticipate it being a regular in my rotation from this day forth and forevermore. I haven’t posted a recipe in awhile thanks to a few weeks of nausea followed by a few weeks of all-the-cravings for classics like Boterkoek, Bacon Corn Chowder, Cinnamon Buns, Happy Cookies and far too much more, but with this recipe I feel like all that good eating I did without you can be forgiven and forgotten, yes?
We’re back :)
- 6 russet potatoes, chopped (peeling is optional - I peeled about half just for fun)
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- ½ an onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 10-20 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh chives (plus chop some extra for garnish if you want)
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil
- ⅓ cup Ranch dressing (we love Renee's Homestyle Ranch)
- Salt and pepper
- Grated Asiago cheese (optional - or sub any other cheese you love)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Meanwhile, wash and chop potatoes and chop bacon and onion. Toss together in a large bowl with the olive oil, then spread on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (If you don't have parchment paper, lightly grease some foil or the pan itself. If you're transferring it to the barbecue but don't have a grill basket, just use a double layer of foil with a good overhang and you can wrap it up in that after to transfer it to the barbecue.)
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring and turning halfway, until potatoes are fork tender but not overly soft.
- Remove from oven, toss with tomatoes, herbs, Ranch dressing and salt and pepper to taste (I use about ½ tsp of salt, 1 tsp pepper). Return to oven for additional 5-8 minutes, or turn oven off and finish salad on the barbecue alongside your burgers, smokies, or whatever other deliciousness you are grilling :) Top with grated cheese and additional fresh chives to serve.
To make ahead, roast potatoes, onion and bacon, let cool to room temperature, then transfer to airtight container or Ziploc bag and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, toss with herbs, tomatoes and dressing, wrap in lightly-greased foil or place on foil in large grill basket, and heat on barbecue or in oven for about 20-30 minutes, until hot through. Leftovers taste great warm or cold.