july 6, 2021
Normal kids ate sandwiches for lunch during summer vacation. This kid scrounged around for ingredients in the family kitchen. Then I moseyed out to the back garden for ripe tomato and cooked up this Bacon Tomato Potato Salad.
I still make this comfort meal, although never for company. Perhaps I think it falls into the Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich category along with spam casseroles. Perhaps I am more than a little embarrassed. But you will have to trust me on this : this salad is delicious. Potato, tomato, bacon, sweet onion and sweet pickle bound together with just enough mayonnaise to make it creamy.
The Origins of My Favorite Potato Salad
These ingredients were always available in our home. Leftover bacon from breakfast was a bonus . There were lots of lumpy brown potatoes, which I usually peeled. Onions were yellow and strong. Naturally, the skins now stay on the red potato for flavor and fiber. Onion is always sweet to avoid unwanted onion breath and indigestion. Bread and butter pickles take the place of dusky dark green sweet pickle chips of my youth.
My Parsley Chive Potato Salad is fancy. This salad is not fancy at all and peculiarly American with its pickle and bacon combination. Duke’s mayonnaise is every southerner’s favorite except this one—the taste of soybean oil leaves me cold. I prefer neutral flavors like canola or avocado oil. Since I am a lazy cook, precooked bacon that can be quickly microwaved is a no-mess, no-fuss no-brainer. Vidalia onions are in season and they make a sweet addition with gentle crunch.
Here are the tricks for making perfect skin-on potato salad:
- cut red potatoes in bite size chunks (cooking them whole means losing skin when cut later)
- start them in cold salted water, bring to boil, then simmer until just tender
- drain and let cool before adding ingredients
The real trick is not eating the entire bowl in one sitting. This salad is best on the same day it is made, so sharing is a must. It’s tasty right away and can stand a chill in the fridge for several hours.
Bacon Tomato Potato Salad
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes 6-8 servings
2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
⅓-½ cup sweet onion, fine chopped
½ cup thin slices of bread and butter pickles
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
6 slices precooked bacon
½ cup mayonnaise
fine sea salt
finely ground white pepper
- Cover potatoes with cold water in two quart saucepan, add generous pinch of kosher salt, cover and bring to boil.
- Remove cover and simmer over low heat until just easily pierced with knife, about 10 minutes.
- Drain potatoes and cool to room temperature.
- Reserve one strip of bacon for garnish.
- Crumble or scissor-snip rest of bacon and add to potatoes with onion, pickles, tomato and mayonnaise.
- Toss gently with spatula and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Top with reserved strip of bacon for garnish, if desired.
- Serve immediately or allow flavors to develop in fridge up to 6 hours.
- Salad is best on the day it is made.