Thursday, July 7, 2011

Do Yourself a Favor

There are certain recipes that I simply cannot make. Oh, not because they are too difficult or because I can’t find the ingredients or because I can’t figure them out. Nope, it’s because if I make them and keep them in the house for more than two seconds, I will eat every last scrap with no holds barred. Stuff that falls in this category would include mac & cheese, mashed potatoes (I’ll inhale them even if they are stone-cold), those deviled eggs with capers I made recently and my favorite bacon-studded potato salad. Skinny cook, anyone?

This potato salad was part of my “Second of July” menu and it is an adaptation of the one we made at Watershed. I loved when it was my job to make it at the restaurant because, of course, you have to keep tasting until you get it right, yes?

I won’t dignify that with an answer.

This is one of those recipes where the sum is greater than the whole of its parts. It’s simple, straightforward and you won’t need a plethora of ingredients. The only difficult part will be restraining yourself from eating the leftovers in your refrigerator. If you are like me, do yourself a favor and don’t make this. Your thighs will thank you.

BACON-STUDDED POTATO SALAD  (adapted from Watershed and Chef Scott Peacock)

1 # bacon (I prefer applewood-smoked)
4# new potatoes
2 T. salt
¼ cup cider vinegar
4 cups chopped scallions (about 4 bunches)
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
1 ½ cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Place a rack over a baking sheet and lay bacon strips over. (You will probably need to do this in two batches). Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until bacon strips are crispy. Remove bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess grease, then roughly chop. Reserve bacon drippings from pan.

 Slice potatoes in half (or quarters if they are large) and place in a heavy pot. Cover with water and add the 2 T. salt and the cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender, 25-30 minutes. Drain potatoes well then place in a large bowl. Pour one half of the reserved bacon fat over (keep remaining for another use) and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the chopped scallions and bacon.

Whisk mayonnaise and sour cream in a bowl until smooth. Pour half of it over potato mixture and stir gently to blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You will probably need to add more of the mayonnaise/sour cream mixture but add only enough so that potato salad is moist but not liquid. Taste again to adjust seasonings.

Serves 10 - 12

*  Use any type of small potatoes you like, but I love the combination of red and purple potatoes and yukon golds.

*  In a perfect world, you would make this with homemade mayonnaise, like we did in the restaurant.  If you live in my world however, you will be perfectly happy to use a good commercial mayonnaise, like Hellman's.  Of course, if you do want to make your own, here you go:

* As usual, Weight Watchers is beckoning.....

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