With summer rapidly approaching, I thought I would post a recipe for one of everyone's favorite summer side dishes- potato salad. Potato salads come in two varieties- creamy and vinegar-based. Most creamy potato salads use mayonnaise, but yogurt, sour cream, or salad dressings can also be used as a base. They are usually served cold. Vinegar-based potato salads on the other hand, are typically coated with a vinegar and sugar based dressing, and are usually served warm. The absence of mayonnaise sometimes makes these dishes a better choice for events likes barbeques and picnics when food will be sitting out at warm temperatures for hours. That's when the toxins produced by bacteria like staph aureus are more likely to proliferate and cause food poisoning.
Regardless of the type of potato salad, in general it's best to choose a variety of potato that has a moderate amount of moisture and starch such as red-skinned, Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold. These types of potatoes tend to hold their shape even after they are cooked until tender, which makes them a natural pick for potato salads. This is opposed to low moisture/high starch potatoes such as the classic Idaho or russet which become very dry and granular after cooking and tend to flake easily.
This dish is my take on a German potato salad which is usually served warm with a slightly tart bacon and vinegar dressing. In this version, I use crispy pancetta instead of bacon. And because I love the play of sweet and salty flavors, I also toss in some dried cranberries which nicely complement the saltiness of the pancetta. I also like to crumble fresh goat cheese on top- I think it adds a nice tangy flavor and creaminess that works great with the warm potatoes. These potatoes also make a nice side dish during the holidays.
- 2 lbs. red-skinned potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 ounces pancetta, diced
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley plus extra for garnish
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 2 ounces goat cheese
- Wash the potatoes and place them in a large saucepan. If the potatoes are very large, cut them in half. Fill the saucepan with enough cold water to cover them. Salt the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and slice them into ¼-inch slices.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp. Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened. Add the mustard, vinegar, chicken stock, and dried cranberries and stir to combine. Cook 3-4 minutes until liquid is reduced by half. Add the sliced potatoes along with the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine all ingredients well.
- To serve, transfer the potatoes to a serving platter and crumble the goat cheese on top. Garnish with the remaining parsley. Serve warm.