The potentiality of potato salad

BY DEBBIE MATTHEWS, The Curious Cook
Posted 1/24/20

Boo-Yah Baked Potato Salad

5 slices bacon

2 large baking potatoes

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 green onions, sliced thinly on the bias

3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon …

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The potentiality of potato salad

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Posted

Boo-Yah Baked Potato Salad

5 slices bacon

2 large baking potatoes

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 green onions, sliced thinly on the bias

3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Salt & pepper

Dressing

Whisk together:

2 tablespoons bacon fat

1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sour cream or fat-free Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon grated horseradish

Salt & pepper to taste

Place bacon on parchment-covered sheet pan, and place in cold oven. Set oven to 350°. Bake for 10 minutes, flip bacon over, and turn pan front to back. Cook until rendered and crispy (approx. 8-10 more minutes). When done, remove to paper towel-covered plate and set aside. Reserve bacon fat and allow to cool enough to touch.

Raise oven temp to 375°.

Make dressing and refrigerate.

Wash potatoes well, dry, and pierce all over with fork or knife. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon bacon fat and sprinkle heavily with salt and pepper. Massage fat and seasoning all over spuds. Wrap each completely with foil and bake until fork tender (60-90 minutes depending on size). When done, remove from oven and place on cooling rack. After 15 minutes remove foil and cool until just cool enough to handle.

Leaving potatoes unpeeled, cut potatoes into salad-sized chunks. Place into large bowl, pour over lemon juice, and gently toss to cover everything. Let sit until completely cool.

Add green onions and cheese to potatoes. Stir in the perfect amount of dressing, then add 2 tablespoons more (it will tighten up while resting).

Cover and let rest on counter for 30 minutes. Transfer to serving vessel. Before serving break up bacon and sprinkle on top. Serves 4-6.

If Gentle Reader, you remember the first column I wrote for the News + Record, you know that potato salad and birthday cake are my very favorite foods.

As you may have guessed from the title, today’s essay is about my long-time love, potato salad.

When I say I love it, I have no fair-weather fickle fondness for the dish. Nay, I do not love indiscriminately in a willy-nilly fashion.

I hold my beloved food to a very high standard.

I don’t like what refrigeration does to the texture, so leftovers may leave with dinner guests or go in the trash. But usually, I take one for the team and finish the bowl, so there are no life or death potato salad disposal dilemmas.

And as for ingredients:

Mustard?

Relish?

Celery?

Abomination.

Abomination.

Abomination.

This means that not many restaurant or deli-made potato salads cut the mustard (see what I did there?). In my lifetime there have been less than 10 non-homemade versions that I really enjoy. Currently, there are two that are readily available.

In Chapel Hill, Merritt’s Grill is famous for its BLTs. The potato salad there is delicious and different. They put peas and carrots in it. I know, there’s no way that should work, but oh Mama, it does.

Jam’s Deli, in Greensboro, makes its version with a big hit of lemon. It’s so good, I don’t mind picking out the celery they make it with for some reason.

I’ve recently become better acquainted with baked potato salad. The Carlie C’s and Lowes Foods near my house both make it. They both make delicious versions, plus they are refrigerator-able.

I’ve decided to figure out a recipe for it and stop paying five or six bucks a pound. And if it’s still tasty after being in the chill chest?

Even better.

It turned out really good. And since the internationally recognized sound of a post-touchdown football being spiked is “boo-yah,” that’s what I named my baked potato salad.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at dm@bullcity.mom.

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