I’ve always liked my potato salad much drier than what you usually get from a store. The dressing is mostly mayonnaise with just enough vinegar to add some “bite” to it. And hard boiled egg … lots of hard boiled egg.
So today’s recipe is a little bit of a departure, since the dressing is a bit thinner than I usually do. Of course, that’s because I made the mayo from scratch. Using rendered bacon fat instead of vegetable oil.
Have I ever mentioned how Everything Is Better With Bacon?
4 pounds mixed red and white fingerling potatoes
1 pound bacon ends (see below)
9 large eggs
2 celery stalks
1/4 large sweet onion
5 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
salt and pepper
Hard-boil six of the eggs. You can do this step however far in advance you want. If you simply put them on first, before you start prepping everything else, they might be done by the time everything else is ready. I do them ahead just so I don’t have so many pots going on the stove at one time.
Since the bacon in this recipe is going to get diced up anyway, I got the ends when they were on sale at the butcher. I always buy up all of it whenever I see it there, and freeze most of it. Then I dice it while it’s still mostly frozen.
You can see how much easier it dices while still frozen.
Trying to do this with thawed bacon would be a total mess.
Clean the potatoes in the sink, the same way as in the Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe. Then chop them into bite-sized pieces.
I left the skin on, because peeling fingerlings would take forever.
Cover with water and add a couple of tablespoons of salt. This will get some flavor into the potatoes, so you won’t need to add as much at the end.
Now add the bacon to a pan over medium heat …
… and cover with a screen. These things are great for keeping grease out of the air while still letting steam out.
Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until it is just starting to turn crispy. Scoop the bacon out with a slotted spoon so the fat drains back into the pan.
Reserve the fat in something with a good spout, so you can pour a slow stream. You’re going to use it to make the dressing.
While the bacon fat is cooling, deglaze the pan with three tablespoons of cider vinegar. Scrape up all the stuck-on bits from the bottom.
Add the potatoes to the pan and toss to coat. Leave the potatoes in to soak up all the vinegar.
While the potatoes are soaking up the vinegar, using up to a cup of the bacon fat, two eggs and two tablespoons of cider vinegar, make mayonnaise the same way as in the Buttermilk Ranch recipe. Toss the potatoes a couple of times while you’re working on the mayo, to make sure they soak up the vinegar evenly.
Peel four of the hard-boiled eggs and dice them with a wire slicer. Dice the onion, celery and scallion. Chop the thick end of the scallion roughly, but keep a small amount of the flat part separate, minced fine for a topping.
Now you should have five or six bowls of ingredients: potatoes, bacon, veg (onion, celery and scallion), dressing and egg.
Combine the bacon and veg in a mixing bowl.
Add the dressing and potatoes and toss gently to combine.
Mix this as little as possible. You don’t want to smash the potatoes. Redskins hold up better. Use them unless you’re using up leftovers. Add the egg and — gently again — stir to combine. Then transfer to your serving bowl.
Peel the two remaining hard boiled eggs and slice them in one direction. Place them on top of the salad, then top with the reserved scallions.
And that’s it.
Want more like this? For more recipes like this, that you can hold right in your hands, and write on, take notes, tear pages out if you want (Gosh, you're tough on books, aren't you?) you might be interested in How To Cook Like Your Grandmother, 2nd edition, Illustrated. Or to learn your way around the kitchen, check out Starting From Scratch: The Owner's Manual for Your Kitchen.