The first time I made this recipe was back in the late '90s, when my aunt, uncle and cousins were visiting Ottawa from Yarmouth, N.S. Wanting to veer away from the traditional mayonnaise based salad, we decided to try a recipe from Martha Stewart's Great Parties book. It's one of Martha's earlier books, but I still use it regularly. The recipe for Grilled Peach Chicken is a staple in our cottage cooking, just as this potato salad is.
Fifteen years after first making it, I've made several tweaks (the original recipe serves 14!) to the amount of oil and vinegar, and I always up the amount of bacon required.
In fairness, just because I cook more bacon, doesn't mean the bacon makes it into the salad. Sometimes quality control needs to ensure the freshness and... uhm... deliciousness of the bacon.
This potato salad is, compared to both the mayonnaise types and the German types, quite dry. And, that's the point. It's not meant to be swimming in dressing! It's a refreshing change from tradition and a great accompaniment to ribs and baked beans.
I've given amounts to serve 2-3 people. Adapt up as you see fit!
Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon, Shallots and Brown Sugar
(adapted from Martha Stewart's Great Parties)
1 lb red potatoes (new are especially nice), scrubbed
2 slices really good bacon
1 large shallot, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
1 tbsp + 1 tsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place potatoes in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are almost fork tender, amount 15 minutes (for large potatoes). You want to get them out just before, as you'll be finishing these off on the grill.
2. While potatoes are cooking, cook bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat until crispy. Remove bacon, and drain on a paper towel. Crumble and set aside. Pour off all but ½ tbsp of bacon fat from pan. Add shallot to pan and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, cider vinegar and 1 tsp olive oil. Stir just until brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside while you finish off the potatoes.
3. Remove potatoes from heat and cut into halves, if potatoes are small, or thick slices if potatoes are large. Try to leave the skin intact wherever possible! Brush with remaining 1 tbsp of oil and place on a greased grill to get brown and crispy, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat. If you're using the thick slices, you may want to cut them again into bite sized quarters. Toss with reserved dressing and season with salt and pepper.