The potato salad trick

Of all the little gems of culinary wisdom I’ve collected over the years – the water for the pasta should be salty, the salad should include crunch – the tip I think of the most …

… Especially this time of year, I heard about it from Bobby Flay when I watched one of his cooking shows in the 90s. Here’s the thing: When making potato salad, toss the potatoes into the dressing while they are still warm and therefore optimally absorbent. This makes a big difference in terms of overall flavor and depth, especially when you’re making potato salad with vinegar (my favorite kind) rather than mayonnaise based salad. The Bacon and Dill Potato Salad below is the perfect way to see for yourself.

Also good to remember? For a prettier look, wipe the inside edge of the bowl and save a handful of the mixture to garnish after stirring. It’s suitable for all salads – don’t you hate how all the goodies sink to the bottom of the salad bowl after being tossed?

Potato salad with bacon and dill

I’ve been doing this salad on repeat all summer. Sweet and savory, spicy and vibrant, this is my favorite part of any ready-to-eat meal. If you ditch the bacon, add 3 more tablespoons of olive oil to the dressing. (This recipe first appeared in my book How to celebrate everything.) For 6-8 servings.

3 lb. unpeeled small hard potatoes (red, white, Yukon Gold), cut into quarters
5 slices of bacon (optional)
⅓ cups white wine vinegar
1 rounded tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
⅓ glasses of quality olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts only, chopped (about a glass)

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water and season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook gently until the knife slides easily through the potatoes, about 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, fry the bacon in a skillet until tender. Dry off the paper towels, leaving 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. Crumble the bacon. Add the fat to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper and olive oil.

When the potatoes are finished, drain the water and drop them immediately into a large bowl to absorb the dressing. Leave in a handful of bacon, dill and green onion crumbs, then stir in the rest of the potatoes. Garnish with the treats set aside and drizzle some more olive oil if you feel it.

PS Nine rules for the best salads and ten quick dinners perfect for this time of year.