Wendy's Potato Salad with Bacon and Capers
- 1 lb (about one really large) Idaho® russet potato
- 1 + 1 large eggs (2)- reserve 1 cooked yolk
- 4 teaspoons nonpareil capers
- 1 shallot, minced
- about 6 cornichons, drained of brine, or two 2 inch long dill pickles
- two 1/4 inch thick slices of smoked bacon, frozen for about 30 minutes
- 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I used Maille green peppercorn Dijon; any Dijon will do)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used Champagne vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1/2 cup sunflower oil or another neutral oil, like grapeseed or canola, or 2/3 cup prepared mayonnaise
- about 8 chives, sliced into small thin rings
- about 10 leaves tarragon, minced
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- Salt and pepper
- Place the whole, unpeeled Idaho® potato in a saucepot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium heat and then reduce to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, place one of the eggs in a small saucepot and cover with water. Bring just to the boil and cover; turn off the heat. Allow the egg to sit, covered, in the hot water for 15 minutes. If you like, you also can cook the egg in the same water as the potato, as it simmers. Remove the cooked egg from the water and rinse in cool water before shelling. Slice in half and carefully remove the yolk; set aside. Slice the egg white as thinly as possible.
- Mince the shallot and the capers; dice the cornichons as finely as you can. Combine the three and add the sliced egg white in a large bowl.
- Remove the bacon slices from the freezer and dice about 1/4 inch or smaller. (The freezing simply solidifies the fat to make the bacon easier to dice). Place a small (8 inch) skillet over medium heat and, when hot, add the bacon cubes. Adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning. Stir on occasion, browning the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the shallot, caper, and cornichons. Leave the fat in the pan; you will use it to fortify the mayonnaise.
- Combine the remaining raw egg and the white wine vinegar; add 1 teaspoon water. Whisk well to emulsify. Dripping one drop at a time at first, and then a thin stream, add the oil very slowly, whisking continuously. If the mixture breaks, add a little (say 1 teaspoon) water and continue whisking.
- **Note: If you don't want to make mayonnaise, use about 2/3 cup prepared mayonnaise; whisk 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar into the mayonnaise before proceeding to the next step.**
- Once the mayonnaise comes together, whisk in about 2-3 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat. Taste after 2 tablespoon to make sure it's not too bacon-fatty. As strange as that might sound - who doesn't love more bacon? - the bacon flavor will intensify once you add it to the cooked bacon. You want to taste the potato and everything else in balance, so don't go bacon crazy.
- Remove the potato from the simmering water when it is just tender, about 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the potato. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes and then peel. Dice the potato about ½ inch - the easiest way is to cut first into 1/2 inch thick slices, and then to dice each slice. Add the potato to the bacon mixture, and add about 2 tablespoons of chives and all the minced tarragon.
- Add the sour cream and about 1/2 cup of the baconnaise to start. Combine well. If you like a more mayonnaise-y salad, feel free to add a little more baconnaise. Store the remaining baconnaise, which is great on sandwiches. Finish by pushing the reserved egg yolks through a sieve over the top of the potato salad and garnishing with the remaining chives.
Yield: 6 - 8 servings
Wendy Tien, Upstart Kitchen