A few months ago I entered this potato salad recipe in the weekly contest on Food52. While this salad did not win, it did become an Editor’s pick, which is fabulous, since the editors of Food52 are Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs! Both are very well established food and cookbook writers. So I took a moment to pat my self on the back, then woke up and came back to reality. I think my daughter yelled in my ear to get my attention. . .
I am a potato lover, and could eat them everyday. I don’t, but I could. Same goes for bacon. So why not combine the two in a warm potato salad. This salad was inspired by a neighbor of mine when I was a child. The Baum family were immigrants from Germany, and Mrs. Baum made the best German potato salad. I took my food memories of the dish, and fashioned my own warm potato salad.
Warm Potato Salad with Bacon and Fennel
2 pounds waxy potatoes
4 pieces bacon
2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, slightly chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
- Boil the potatoes whole, with the skin on. When done, drain well and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- At the same time you are cooking the potatoes, cook the bacon slices in a skillet, preferably not non-stick. Remove the bacon when done, drain on a paper towel, and cut into small pieces when cooled.
- Place the sliced cucumbers into a large bowl.
- Over medium flame, add the fennel, thyme, red pepper and dry mustard to the bacon fat. Stirring constantly, cook the spices for about a minute, or until fragrant.
- Carefully add the vinegar to the pan. With a whisk, scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the sugar, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the dressing emulsifies slightly.
- Pour the hot dressing over the cucumbers to pickle them slightly. Let the dressing and cucumbers sit while you slice the warm potatoes.
- Slice the potatoes about a 1/4 inch thick. Add them to the bowl with the cucumbers, and sprinkle with salt. (If your bacon is very salty you may want to omit the salt) Add the reserved bacon pieces, and toss the salad gently.
- Serve the salad warm or at room temperature.