One thing my family really enjoys in the summer months is a good potato salad. Not only do potato salads work as a delicious side dish for just about any main dish protein you may be cooking up, but they are also very easy to do and quite adaptable as well.
I especially love this version I am sharing with you today, which uses some of the many fresh ingredients that are available at this time of year. It’s versatile, and perfect for picnics, potluck and covered dish suppers, and Al Fresco Summer Dining on the patio. If you like this recipe be sure to click the Yum button above so more people see it!
Creamy Roasted Potato Salad: Detailed Instructions
Red skinned new potatoes are diced and then roasted in a hot oven along with some oil, seasonings, chopped onions, and garlic, and then finished off with a creamy dressing, chopped spring onion and crispy bacon. Once you have all of the ingredients prepared it goes together very quickly and I can tell you first-hand it is truly delicious!
I like to use new potatoes for this, preferably red-skinned ones, as they are so wonderful at this time of year, fresh from the garden if you are lucky, but even the ones at the shops will most likely be fresh and locally produced. Make sure you wash them clean of any grit or dirt and then dry them really well with some paper kitchen toweling. Once dried, I cut them into a ½ inch dice with my Chef’s knife, making the pieces as uniformly sized as possible.
I usually cut them into quarters lengthwise (if they are very large) and then into quarters crosswise. I leave the skins on for interest and texture.
Next the Onions
You will want to use your Chef’s knife to cut the onions also. There is a really easy way to do this. First, I cut the onion in half horizontally. I then slip the peels off and lay them cut side down flat on the cutting board. I make several cuts horizontally towards root end, while holding it in place with my other hand, and then several cuts from the top down from root to end (keep the root end intact).
Make sure you curl the fingers of your holding hand so that they don’t get nicked by the knife. After that I simply cut crosswise, ending up with nice manageable pieces.
A handy tip you may want to use is to make sure you have a special cutting board that you use just for cutting onions and garlic on. These ingredients have strong flavors that tend to linger, even after cleansing the board, especially if it is a wooden board. You don’t always want these flavors to transfer to other foods.
Then the Garlic
You will also need to mince some garlic for this recipe. Two fat cloves of garlic should give you the required amount. Peel and then mince finely, again using your chef’s knife. Placing the garlic cloves on the cutting board, I press them down firmly with the side of my knife first to help loosen the peels, which I then slip off and discard, along with the dry root end.
If there are any green bits/sprouts, you will also want to remove and discard those as they can also impart bitterness to whatever you are cooking. Then just chop the garlic into manageable pieces. After that, using a rocking motion and keeping the tip of the knife in one space, rotate the rear of the knife back and forth across the garlic which chopping downwards will mince the garlic quite efficiently.
Alternately, you can use a garlic press. Just don’t scrape the garlic off and use the garlic that is stuck to the end of the press with your knife, as this also can come out bitter for some reason.
You will be mixing the potatoes, onions, and garlic, along with some oil and seasonings together on a baking sheet. I like to line the baking sheet with foil for easy removal and then I just get in there with my hands. They do a fine job of making sure everything is distributed as evenly as possible. Finely spread it all out into an even layer on the pan.
You don’t want them to be stuck together in huge clumps. Try to spread them out as evenly as possible, so that they will cook evenly. The baking sheet gets popped into a hot oven, and the potato mixture roasted until it is crisp and golden brown. How long you leave them in largely depends on how crispy you want them.
Do beware that if you leave them in too long the onion and garlic might begin to burn, so please err on the side of caution. So long as you can easily slip the tip of a sharp knife into them they are done.
While that’s Cooking: The Spring Onions and Bacon
While they are roasting you can chop your spring onion. A really sharp Chef’s knife also makes a really short work of this exercise. I trim off the root end and any green tips that look kind of tired. I also give them a good wash, even inside, as sand and grit can get into there and you don’t want that in your food. Shake them dry and just chop chop-chop! You don’t want them too fine as they add color and texture to the salad.
Preparing the Dressing
You can also be cooking your bacon while the potatoes are roasting. I like it crisp without being overly so. You don’t want it to be flimsy as that isn’t very nice in a salad, but neither it is nice if it is overly crisp. You just want to be able to easily chop or crumble it once cooked.
As most good cooks know a salad can either be a success or a failure largely dependant on the dressing you use. The dressing for this salad is rich, creamy and quite delicious. It is basically a mix of prepared ranch dressing and mayonnaise. Quality speaks for itself, so do make sure you use the best quality of both that your money can buy. It is even better if you happen to have your own homemade ranch or mayonnaise.
The Final Mix
These two ingredients get whisked together, after which you simply stir the mixture into the potatoes, bacon and spring onions, mixing them all together until everything is coated evenly. Again, err on the side of caution, adding only half the dressing at first to see how it goes, and then the rest as you go along and as needed. You don’t want a soupy salad, nor do you want a dry salad.
And that is it! Taste it and adjust the seasoning as required with some salt and pepper, and your salad is ready to serve!
Going the Extra Mile
If you like, you can chop a bit more spring onion to sprinkle on top as a garnish. You can also vary this by adding a bit of grated strong cheddar cheese, which goes very nicely. You won’t need much, a small handful will do! (about ¼ cup)
If you aren’t using it right away, you will want to cover the salad tightly with plastic cling film or a suitable alternative and put it into the refrigerator until about half an hour before you plan on serving it. At that time I would take it out of the fridge, uncover it and let it come to room temperature, giving it a final stir just prior to popping it onto the table for service.
I can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t want to dig right into this tasty salad! Can you?
Creamy Roasted Potato Salad Recipe
Serves: 4 – 6
This delicious potato salad makes good use of the early new potatoes and fresh produce available this time of year. It is a beautiful mix of textures and flavors.
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 2 pounds new red potatoes, washed, dried and chopped
- 1 medium brown onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- ½ tsp of freshly ground black pepper
- 8 to 10 rashers of cooked crisp (streaky) bacon, crumbled
- 1 bunch of spring (green) onions, washed, trimmed and chopped
- ½ cup or 120 grams of prepared Ranch Dressing (use your favorite brand)
- ¼ cup or 60 grams of good quality mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: more chopped spring onions or ¼ cup grated cheddar
- Preheat the oven to 425°F/ 230°C/ gas mark 7. Line a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.
- Chop the brown onions and potatoes (I don’t bother to peel the potatoes) and mince the garlic. Toss together in a bowl along with the salt, black pepper, and olive oil. Spread out on your prepared baking sheet.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring them every now and then. If you like your potatoes a bit crisper, you can bake them for 10 minutes longer.
- Chop your spring onions and crumble the cooked bacon while the potatoes are roasting. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the crumbled bacon and spring onions. Whisk together the ranch dressing and mayonnaise.
- Pour over the potato mixture and combine completely. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Serve immediately or cover and chill until serving time.
- (Optional) Garnish the potato salad with extra spring onions (chopped) or some grated cheddar cheese.
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Marie Rayner is a Canadian, who moved over to the UK and began a new life in the year 2000. At the age of 45 she decided she needed a career change and went back to College to take a Chef’s course, after which she worked as a Personel Chef for a number of years.