Anyway, back to this recipe. Two aspects set it apart: the cooking method for the potatoes (grilling) and the dressing. The potato flavor is intensified by the grilling, and the dressing has chiles in it. Do give it a try!
Smoky Grilled Potato Salad
- 8 slices bacon
- 4 tablespoons vinegar, red wine or (if you can find it) sherry, which has a sweeter, more complex taste, but which is hard to find at the grocery store.
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 small canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, with some of the sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 pounds small red potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled, halved if very small or quartered if larger
- 1-2 large onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds and anchored with toothpicks pushed through the sides of the slices--use 3-4 toothpicks per slice (I used just one onion this time, but I think I'll use another one the next time, as the grilled onions are truly delicious.)
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- Finely chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish
The Cook's Country recipe gives directions for using both a gas and a charcoal grill, but since I simply used a gas grill that's all I'm going to discuss. So, first fry the bacon until good and crisp, then crumbled or chop. Reserve the fat.
Turn the grill on to medium high and place a large sheet of foil over the grate or thoroughly scrape and oil the grate. I just use the foil. Close the lid and let the grill heat up while you're prepping the potatoes and onion.
Toss the potatoes with 3-4 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and 1 tsp. of salt. Brush the onion slices with additional fat. Place the onions and potatoes on the foil and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes. You want the food to be well browned with grill marks. Flip everything over, close the lid again, and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Test the potatoes by piercing with a knife; if they seem to need more time to cook, turn the grill off and close the lid, allowing them to continue to cook with residual heat. You don't want the potatoes to be completely carbonized, so letting the residual heat do the last bit of cooking with help avoid that.
Meanwhile, make the dressing: Use a stick or small blender to mix the vinegar, mayonnaise, chiles, and olive oil, with 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper to taste. This amount of chiles will give you a fairly spicy but not overwhelmingly hot dressing.
Let the potatoes and onions cool. Chop the onions fairly small. Mix in the dressing and the scallions, then taste to see if additional salt is needed and sprinkle with the herb garnish. The original recipe says to serve this warm or at room temperature, and I wish I had paid attention to that direction and not refrigerated it. You wouldn't want it to sit out for hours, but it's not very perishable. I felt that the flavor of the freshly-made salad was better than it was after being refrigerated. If you need to make the salad in advance, I'd advise keeping the dressing separate until you're ready to serve. Potato salad recipes often say to mix the dressing with the potatoes while they're still warm so that the dressing will be absorbed, but I don't think that's a good idea. You want your potato salad to be creamy, and if the potatoes have drunk up the dressing then it's going to be dry. Just my opinion, as I'm sure my dear readers will be astonished to hear. You'll have to refrigerate the leftovers, of course, but that's life.