One of the best ways to add flavour to any ingredient is to roast it, especially the humble potato. That simple twist elevates this classic salad into something memorable. Add in the sharp flavours of capers, mustard and vinegar, and you’ll have a new family classic.
Yield: Serves 4
4 or 5 thick slices bacon
20 baby red potatoes
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
a handful flat leaf parsley leaves
a few pickles, diced small
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
a splash red wine vinegar
Stack the bacon slices on top of each other, then cut them into thin pieces. Toss them into a large sauté pan, add a splash of water and begin heating the works over medium-high heat. Strain and reserve the fat.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 °F (200 °C).
Cut the baby potatoes in half. Toss them with the bacon fat and salt and pepper and roast them until they’re golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Toss the potatoes with the remaining ingredients then serve right away or save for later. This salad is great when it’s made the night before a party.
By adding water to the raw bacon, you’re less likely to burn it as it gradually releases its fat and browns evenly. When the water evaporates, and the bacon begins to brown, turn the heat down a notch and continue cooking until it’s all nice and crisp.
For a special-occasion twist, try using capers instead of pickles, or you can skip the pickles and use a few spoonfuls of pickled green relish instead. You can also try using a big handful of fresh dill fronds along with the parsley leaves. While baby red potatoes are my favourite, you may also use any other type of potato to make this salad.
This is one of my all-time favourite comfort foods. Just like high-starch rice, barley may be simmered and stirred into a smooth, creamy risotto, absorbing the flavour of the bacon and rich chicken broth as it slowly cooks. The results are richly flavoured and deeply satisfying.