spring potato salad
Unlike some potato salads, which I find to just be a pile of mush, this version is full of flavor and texture. The acidity from the vinaigrette and lemon zest adds a nice brightness to the heartiness of the potatoes, while the caramelized leeks pay homage to long awaited Spring produce. Make it in advance for a weekend cookout (it’s actually even better the next day) or pack it for weekday lunches. It’s totally versatile! Just remember to toss it with a bit of the reserved vinaigrette before serving.
1 1/4 pounds baby potatoes, washed and cut into equally-sized pieces [I cut larger ones into thirds, and halved smaller ones]
1 leek, washed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 slice of thick-cut bacon
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
First, add the prepared potatoes to a medium-sized sauce pan. Fill pan with water until potatoes are just covered. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat slightly and continue to boil for 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and set aside.
Add bacon slice to a large saute pan and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Leave bacon fat in the pan.
While the saute pan is still hot, add sliced leek to the bacon fat, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, about 4 – 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Pour leek and garlic mixture into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the saute pan and increase heat to high. Add the boiled potatoes to the pan, making sure they are in an even single layer. Cook on high for 10 minutes, only shaking the pan several times throughout the cooking process, until the potatoes’ edges are browned and crisp. [Use restraint here — as much as you might want to stir the potatoes, you’ll prevent them from browning if you move them too much while they are cooking]. Remove pan from heat and transfer potatoes to the large mixing bowl with the leeks and garlic. Add lemon zest to hot potatoes and toss mixture. Set aside to cool slightly.
As potatoes cool, prepare the vinaigrette: add vinegar, mustard, and salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk until combined. While whisking, slowly add 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Continue to whisk until mixture is emulsified and thick.
Add 1/2 of the dressing to the warm potato mixture, and toss [reserve the rest of the dressing — see Note for use]. Crumble bacon and add to the bowl, as well as the chopped hard-boiled eggs. Toss until combined. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
*Note: Store leftover potato salad in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature to serve. While the potato salad sits, it may become dry, so toss with some of the leftover dressing before serving.