It is a common misconception that potato salad requires that the potatoes be smothered lavishly and heart-cloggingly in mayonnaise. It is also a common misconception that the only way to serve new potatoes is boiled with butter and chives. Whilst both scenarios can prove adequately tasty (the latter being the British favourite and the former being the American)- I fancy to suggest that there are other ways to serve the noble new potato.
You can open your eyes now- this really isn’t a scary concept; in fact it’s not anything new. It’s just that most of us resort to what seems easy and what they know best. When my family lived in Philadelphia we had a huge garden where my father grew potatoes, lettuces, tomatoes and as kids we would run out to the veg patch to dig some up for dinner. The excitement of digging them up far succeeded the joy of eating them. Of course they were delicious in their own right- things that come straight out of the ground generally are but it was eating them every night in the same way, as if they were simply a plate filler rather than a contributor to the overall meal that got to me. Boiled and tossed with butter and chives- it’s simple enough and sometimes it’s all a potato needs. Just not every time. Needless-to-say this approach to them rather put me off and I soon decided that I didn’t like new potatoes, avoiding them at all costs. They were boring. Rather like a side salad of iceberg lettuce.
Recently, however, I decided to revisit the boiled new potato- to start over, if you will. Enter, the egg and bacon potato salad. If ever there is a way to improve a dish, it’s by adding two of your favourite ingredients into the pot- eggs and bacon happen to be two of mine. Don goes a little crazy when he smells bacon and does this strange sort of excited barking sound. He’s really very easy to please.
In trying to keep the salad somewhat healthy I decided to boost the flavours with the help of fresh flat leaf parsley, spring onions and garlic rather than adding any extra fat. Don agreed to not adding any extra fat, but he thought that it wouldn’t hurt to add a little extra bacon. Of course then it would have been the egg and potato bacon salad, and that wasn’t what I was going for- but feel free to go crazy on the bacon in your kitchen, excited barking sounds and all.
Egg & bacon potato salad
I’ve given vague quantities for this because it really doesn’t require anything to be exact. If you like eggs- add more eggs. If you love bacon- add more bacon. If you hate garlic, avoid it all together. I didn’t use any oil or butter because I think the bacon and eggs add enough creaminess on their own. You could however add a drizzle of oil to serve. How long it takes to cook the potatoes will depend on the size of your potatoes, but generally speaking they will take between 10-20 minutes. Anything more than that and I get impatient and cut them in half.
Serves 6 as a side dish
1 kg new potatoes, cleaned
6-8 slices streaky bacon
3 cloves garlic, very finely sliced.
4 tbsp roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
zest 1 lemon
bunch of spring onions (scallions), finely sliced (about 6 thin ones)
1. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan filled with cold water and bring to the boil. Let bubble away for 10 minutes before checking (if they are tiny ones) 15 minutes if they are small, 20 if they are medium and so on. You should be able to cut through them with a table knife and of course they shouldn’t be hard or falling apart. You’re on your own on this one.
2. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and once they are cool enough to handle (cooler, not cold) cut them in half or quarters if they are big or if they are tiny leave them whole.
3. Whilst the potatoes are cooking bring another saucepan up to the boil for your eggs. Carefully spoon the eggs into the water. Allow the water to come back up to a gentle boil and set a timer for seven minutes. After seven minutes, take the saucepan off the heat and allow to sit for one minute. Drain and run under cold water. This should give you hardboiled eggs without a dried-out yolk. Once cool enough to handle crack the shells and peel. Cut them anyway you like- I usually cut each half into six pieces.
4. Cook the bacon in a frying pan until crispy. Remove from the pan and onto kitchen towel to absorb the excess fat. Remove all but 1 tbsp of bacon fat from the pan and gently fry the garlic so that it is crispy and beginning to go golden. Remove onto the kitchen towel.
5. To assemble, place the potatoes in a large bowl and toss in the parsley, zest, spring onions, eggs and garlic. Crumble over the bacon (or slice and add), season with salt and pepper and gently toss together. This can be served warm or cold but for presentation purposes I would avoid mixing until you are ready to serve.