Real Potato Salad

No personal vendettas against potato salad, but the stuff, all things considered, is pasty goo that I have never been fond of. 

What I am fond of, are very hearty salads with hot and delicious stuff added to them.  Some of the best salads I’ve ever made or have been served contained hot ingredients – from spinach salads with hot currants, duck confit, and andouille sausage to salads filled with fried gnocchi and mushrooms.  The hot-cold combination is amazing, and for some reason, as spring is springing, Aurora and I have been eating this salad like it’s going out of style. 

In a sense, it is going out of style.  Aurora’s jaw surgery is less than 2 weeks away – wired shut for 12 weeks.  I’ll be joining her by doing an old-school “milk diet” for the first month or so.  No salads for us.   

Anyway, we’ve made this salad a half dozen ways over the past month.  In the video, I keep saying that hard-boiled eggs will be added, but in the end Aurora got the eggs and I opted to have my salad without them.  They are part of the “official” salad.  We’ve also made the salad with grilled beef (amazing), beef carpaccio (excellent), and so on.  But no matter how you choose to get down with this full-throttle “dinner salad,” the fried potatoes are a must. 

When done correctly, there is no better salad on earth, or in the words of Mr. Miyagi:

“When do right, no can defense.” 

Here is the REAL potato salad…


  • 2-3 diced Yukon Gold potatoes fried in coconut oil, beef tallow, lard, or a combination
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, still warm
  • 3 ounces of your favorite cheese grated or crumbled
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
  • 2 chopped Romaine “hearts” 
  • A little arugula or field greens
  • Fresh-picked herbs (optional) 

Prepare as shown in the video, adding your hot ingredients at the very end so the lettuce stays fairly crisp. 

Simplify by making it with just potatoes and cheese and/or a little shopped salami.  Olives would make a nice addition I would imagine.  I also think it’s easier to bake the bacon in the oven on a large sheet pan (with sides), 1-2 packs at a time so you can make this salad several times but only cook the bacon once. 

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow, that looks good. I will be trying this VERY soon. Thanks for giving us all these great recipes, Matt.

  2. This is SO my kind of potato salad! I’m also not too great a fan of the gloopy stuff… I actually tried this tonight and it was great, however, I need to work on my pan frying technique. I think my error was in not letting the pan & oil heat up enough and having the burner on too low, but my potatoes ended up looking far less like cubes and I kept ending up scraping off the crispy outside revealing the fluffier inside of the potatoes – does that make sense? The result was still pretty tasty, but not very pretty.
    I’d consider myself an above average home cook (and I make almost everything from scratch), but I’m a recipe follower; for some reason, I totally lack the creative capacity to truly be a great cook and create dishes with only delicious ingredients to start. That said, my ability to measure and follow instructions makes me an excellent baker. All of that is meant merely as an explanation in case you respond and help troubleshoot.
    Oh, and thank you for quoting Mr. Miyagi. You’re now at least 10 points cooler in my book.

    • Ha. Yeah, you have to let them cook in hot oil for a long time before touching the pan. Let them get totally browned. You also MUST let the pan get very hot before you put anything in there. Don’t crowd the pan too much either. The less you play with those taters while they are cooking, the better, and try finishing them in the oven at 450 degrees F or so also.

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