Let’s play a little word association game. I’m going to give you two words, and then you respond with the very first thing that pops into your head.
Quick, what was your first thought???!!!!
Nevermind. I can’t actually hear you (which is one of the most unfortunate drawbacks of blogging), so I guess I’ll just share my answer.
Yes, I’m referring to the rather “rotund” little German boy from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I know that’s a mildly ridiculous response, but he is literally the first thing that comes to mind when I hear “potato salad.” Between his body type, the fact that he gets stuck inside a giant glass pipe, and the visuals conjured by the word “gloop,” I actually think it’s a rather apt association. Because, like all those things, traditional potato salad terrifies me.
I’ve always been against standard issue potato salad for several reasons. First of all, it’s visually unappealing. Yellowish-white gloop-iness (see what I did there?) is about the least sexy thing in the world, and the texture is straight-up icky. It’s a combination of chunky and creamy that reminds me of very bad things. (I shall remain vague, as I don’t want to upset you too much. This is a food blog.)
Most importantly, traditional potato salad tends to involve copious amounts of mayonnaise, which I actively despise. In fact, in the hundreds of recipes on this site, you won’t find a single one that calls for mayonnaise. As my former roommate once eloquently said, mayo is “the devil’s condiment.” (Preach, Baysie, PREACH!)
So, when a friend asked me a few weeks ago if I had a recipe for potato salad, I balked at the idea. “Potato salad?! Dear God, NO!” Then I shivered a little bit for dramatic effect. This was a rather extreme reaction, and I would like to apologize. After all, there’s a big beautiful world of potato salads out there when you think outside the mayonnaise and boiled potato box.
And that, friends, is exactly what I did when it came to creating the potato salad you see on your screen. Behold the glory of Roasted Potato Salad with Pancetta, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula….
I never thought I’d write the words “love” and “potato salad” in the same sentence, but it’s the truth. This stuff is unreal, I L-O-V-E it, and I’m officially a potato salad convert. (Insert hearts and rainbows.)
Let’s talk about the process for a hot sec. First, you’re going to roast some baby red potatoes until beautifully browned and crispy. While they’re in the oven, you fry up a few slices of pancetta, chop a handful of plump sun-dried tomatoes, and whisk together a simple vinaigrette using the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar. Toss the crumbled pancetta, tomatoes, some peppery arugula, and the dressing with the warm potatoes, and top the whole shebang with plenty of shaved Parmesan. Done and done. Snaps for simplicity.
The heat from the potatoes helps them soak up the tangy dressing and gently wilts the arugula, which is a gloriously magical thing, peeps. Sun-dried tomatoes lend just the right amount of toothsome sweetness and acidity into the mix, and between the crispy potatoes and pancetta, there’s plenty of crave-worthy crunch.
Basically, I made a potato miracle, and I’m only mildly ashamed to admit that I ate ¾ of it yesterday afternoon. Solo. Standing up. With the camera still around my neck. Then my friend Lara came over and ate the rest of it, and she freaked out too. She doesn’t even like potatoes that much.
Like I said, potato miracle.
For the record, this is one of those rare recipes that can (and should) be enjoyed year-round. It’s delightful at a summer barbecue, but it would be equally at home on your Thanksgiving table, and I love the idea of crushing it by the bowlful in the dead of winter (preferably in close proximity to a roaring fire).
And while you should obviously try roasted potato salad with all of your favorite meats and fish, for some reason I can’t stop fantasizing about getting poached eggs involved. Fanciest home fries of all time.
Want to play the word association game again?
Roasted Potato Salad with Pancetta, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula: (Serves 4-6)
2 pounds baby red potatoes
2½ tablespoons olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
1/3 pound thinly sliced pancetta
6-8 sun-dried tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil, drained and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
3½ tablespoons olive oil from the sun-dried tomato jar
2 cups loosely packed baby arugula
¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
Preparing your Roasted Potato Salad with Pancetta, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula:
-Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment (or two smaller ones) and set aside.
-We’re going to start with the potatoes. Scrub them really well. You don’t want any lingering dirt on those bad boys.
-Quarter your potatoes so that they are in roughly 1-inch pieces. (Smaller potatoes can be cut in half, and if you have any HUGE ones, you may need to cut those into eighths. Just make sure all the potatoes are about the same size.)
-While the potatoes are roasting, cook the pancetta. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the pancetta and cook for about 4 minutes until well browned and crispy. (You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pan.) Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. When cool, crumble pancetta into large pieces.
-Moving on to the dressing! In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, red wine vinegar, and that awesome sun-dried tomato infused olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
- 2 pounds baby red potatoes
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1/3 pound thinly sliced pancetta
- 6-8 sun-dried tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil, drained and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 3½ tablespoons olive oil from the sun-dried tomato jar
- 2 cups loosely packed baby arugula
- ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment (or two smaller ones) and set aside.
- Scrub your potatoes really well (make sure to get off all the dirt!), and quarter them so they're in roughly 1-inch pieces. (Smaller potatoes can be cut in half, and if you have any HUGE ones, you may need to cut those into eighths. Just make sure all the potatoes are about the same size.)
- Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet(s). Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer the potatoes to the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until browned and tender. Let those babies cool for about 5 minutes.
- While the potatoes are roasting, cook the pancetta. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the pancetta and cook for about 4 minutes until well browned and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. When cool, crumble pancetta into large pieces.
- Moving on to the dressing! In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, red wine vinegar, and that awesome sun-dried tomato infused olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Place the warm potatoes in a large bowl with the crumbled pancetta, chopped sundried tomatoes, and arugula. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat.
- Transfer potato salad to a serving dish or platter (yes, you can leave it in the mixing bowl if you must), and top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
I’m thrilled to be a part of Food Network’s Summer Soirée this week. For more potato salad ideas, check out the awesome blogs below.
Chez Us: Baked Potato Salad
The Heritage Cook: French Potato Salad with Haricot Vert (Gluten-Free)
Weelicious: Blue and White Potato Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Mom’s Potato Salad (the Best Ever!)
Red or Green: Spicy Potato Salad with Jalapeno and Vinegar Vinaigrette
Feed Me Phoebe: Healthy Greek Potato Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Creamy Potato Salad with Mint
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Warm Smashed Roasted Potato Salad
FN Dish: 10 New Ways to Do Up Potato Salad