Thursday, March 14, 2013

My new favorite potato salad

Dustin has a problem with traditional potato salad and this has the potential to cause marital strife because I can't imagine how anyone could dislike potatoes and mayonnaise.

Luckily we've found a compromise.

potato salad
{potato salad}

This is a vinegar based potato salad but it uses bacon fat instead of oil. It's heavenly. If you're veg, you could leave out the bacon and swap in regular oil and it would still be very good, I think.
Potato salad with vinegar and bacon (recipe is from here, serves 6) 
2 1/4 pounds medium-size waxy potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
6 bacon slices, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons coarse-grained mustard
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (fennel fronds also work well) 
:: Steam potatoes until tip of a knife easily pierces the center of slices. This was about 10 minutes for the Yukon golds and red skinned potatoes, significantly less for the purple potatoes. Set potatoes aside in a large bowl. 
:: Sauté bacon in large skillet over medium heat until brown, about 3 minutes. Remove bacon and set aside. Reduce heat to medium. Pour off some of the fat. You want to use 2 1/2 tablespoons of drippings, which is more than you might think.  
:: Add the chopped onion and cook for about 2 minutes, until golden. Whisk in the vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer until mixture is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.  
:: Pour the dressing straight from the skillet into the bowl with the potatoes. Toss gently (I actually use a soft spatula instead of a spoon to cause less breakage). Add your chopped bacon and fresh dill and toss. Transfer your salad to a smaller bowl if you'd like. Equally good warm or at room temperature. 

A few little things - 

I use my handy mandoline for slicing the potatoes.

We got a tri-color blend of waxy potatoes rather than the red potatoes the recipe calls for. Purple potatoes are gorgeous but they seem to cook more quickly. Steam them separately! Any waxy potato should work, just stay far away from russets, which have the wrong texture.

The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water but I just use 3/4 cup white wine vinegar. I love vinegar and I don't think it's overpowering here.

2.5 tablespoons of bacon fat seems like a lot. It's more than you need to cook the onions, so I low balled it the first time I made this salad. Then I realized that the point of the bacon fat is not just to cook the onions, it's to make the dressing. Whether you're using bacon fat or oil, I recommend using the full amount in the recipe. I promise it doesn't taste greasy at all. If you want to make the dish lower fat, you could easily cut the fat down and it will be delicious but it's so much better as written.


  1. Wow thanks for sharing! I don't eat mayo so I'll have to try it! And since i'm a veg I'll certainly substitute. Thanks for sharing!

    Juliette Laura

  2. Mmm...I love this kind of potato salad. My husband's family is German and that's how they make it, too!

  3. Ummm wow this is amazing making it ASAP!! Thank you!

  4. This looks fabulous! I'll definitely be trying this out soon

    Mal @ The Chic Geek

  5. this sounds very german, in a good way. i shall vegetarianize it and call it dustinkartoffel.

    1. It is very German and so good. I was traumatized by my grandmother's German potato salad (watery vinegar, overcooked russets, sad chunks of celery) so I was really skeptical of trying out a vinegar based recipe, but now I understand what the Germans are going for. Also, that my grandmother shouldn't be allowed to cook.

    2. when my german grandmother cooked, she was known for 1) always hiding turkey in at least one thing and 2) always suspending something (usually a vegetable) in jell-o. "she could suspend a small child in jell-o," my mother would say.

    3. jell-o was also my grandmother's only specialty...that and mysterious jam jars of alien-colored mint jelly...which, of course, is only adult jell-o, disguised.

  6. I'm so glad you love this!
    I had potato salad like this while studying abroad in Germany years ago! I finally found a recipe(almost exactly what you posted) that I love and make for my boyfriend often!

  7. looks tasty! Any combo of potatoes, bacon, vinegar, mustard, &/or mayo is a good option in my book. I also like to throw in some gherkins or chopped up dill pickle for extra crunch in either type of potato salad.

  8. I agree with you wholeheartedly and cannot fathom how anyone would not enjoy potatoes and mayonnaise. Nevertheless, this looks fantastic. Thanks for posting.

  9. I don't like traditional potato salad either, this looks wonderful!

  10. James is tragically allergic to potatoes and so such a dispute isn't even in the realm of possible in our house. This looks delicious (sans bacon for me). Living vicariously.

  11. That's German potato salad! My grandmothers both make this. My mom modifies it by using just a tablespoon of the bacon grease and mixing a little more of the other ingredients in until it tastes right. I always look forward to making big batches of it when we have parties in the summer.

  12. This looks so great and reminds me of potato salad from the grocery store as a kid that my mom never wanted me to have. Cannot wait to bring this to a BBQ this summer!

  13. You had me at vinegar and bacon fat. Especially as I sympathise with Dustin when it comes to potato salad. (I think I've had bites of too many that seemed more like mayo with bits of potato tossed in. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of eating mayo with a spoon.)

  14. German Potato Salad! Delicious, it's like the only thing I eat when I visit my relatives in Kentucky (because the other side dish options are often ambrosia and a "salad" with top ramen crumbled on top...)


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