My husband has been traveling to Denver a lot from work and although I love food and hearing about new restaurants, I have a hard time getting him to tell me in the amount of detail I want about where he went to eat and what the food was like. Then he goes to Earl’s and as a side to his entrée gets a warm potato salad. When we get on the phone that night he’s telling me all about how great it is, what he thinks is in it and that we need to try to re-create this at home.
This potato salad has a creamy mayo and sour cream based dressing but the kicker is it’s tangy – and let me tell you as I was mixing the dressing and offering it to my husband to taste that’s the word that kept coming back, it’s not tangy enough yet. Well, let me see you try to re-create something that you’ve never tasted! We finally achieved the perfect amount of tanginess with a combination of fresh lemon juice and cider vinegar.
As for the potatoes, we roasted them in the oven so they get a crispness on the outside and a softness on the inside. Add in some roasted corn and chunks of bacon, garnish with some chives and you’ve got a decent knock off of Earl’s; or so I’m told, all I know is that this is a pretty darn good potato salad.
Here’s what you need:
Note: Not pictured is cider vinegar.
Start by cutting the potatoes into about ½ inch pieces. Put onto a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle on some salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Toss together with your hands until the potatoes are evenly coated and the then spread them in an even layer.
Toss them into a 425 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes or until crispy, flipping half way through.
When the potatoes are in the oven, cut the corn off the cob and spread onto another parchment lined baking sheet. Toss 3 cloves of peeled garlic on the same sheet. Pop into the oven when the potatoes have about 15-20 minutes left.
Now we’re going to get the bacon going. We want this to look kind of rustic so I’m cutting it into about 1 inch pieces. I used Minnesota Gold Applewood Smoked bacon for this. I didn’t want to use their thick cut bacon because I wanted a nice crisp but not overpowering chunk of bacon. This worked out perfect.
Normally I would bake the bacon but both of my oven racks are full roasting off the potatoes and corn. Cook on medium-low in a large pan. We’re only going to use about a quarter of a pound but I find it easy to just cook the entire package up. Leftover bacon doesn’t go to waste in our house. You’re also going to want to reserve some of the bacon fat from the bacon to add to the dressing (if we’re going to add fat to the dressing might as well take advantage of that yummy flavor we rendered from the bacon!)
As the bacon works let’s prepare the dressing. In a bowl you’re going to whisk together equal parts mayo (I used Hellman’s light) and sour cream, the juice of half a lemon, a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh dill, a quarter cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese, a couple tablespoons of bacon fat (I pulled it out when the bacon was almost ready – cooked but not yet as crisp as I wanted), a tablespoon and a half of cider vinegar and finely chopped roasted garlic (the stuff we tossed on the corn pan).
Make sure you taste this and adjust to your own personal tastes. This is where sometimes I divert a little bit on copy cat recipes – they often serve as a great inspriation but I get the opportunity to tweak the amounts until it tastes perfect to me.
Here’s what the potatoes look like once they’re done.
And look at those nice big chunks of bacon – it’s totally ok to sample one or two to make sure it’s good ennough.
I forgot to take a picture of the roasted corn. So we’ll move on to tossing it all together. In a large bowl add the roasted potatoes, corn, bacon and all the dressing. It’s going to seem like a lot but trust me as it sits the potatoes will absorb a little bit and it will be the perfect amount. But like always if you don’t like things as saucy, start with half and add more to your own taste.
Here’s it all mixed together.
Once you get the perfect ratio of sauce to potatoes then just add some chopped chives. I have these cool herb scissors (that aren’t pictured) that cut herbs into the perfect width and have multiple blades so they cut a few pieces at a time. It’s great for adding garnish like this.
Serve when it’s still warm but don’t fret if there are any leftovers they do taste good cold as well.
This potato salad is just begging me to make it on the grill. Roasting the potatoes and corn on the grill and getting a nice smoky and charred flavor sounds awesome! Next time.
- 2 lb baby red potatoes, cut into ½ inch pieces
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Kernels from 2 ears of corn (about a cup and a half)
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- ¼ lb of bacon, cut into one inch pieces
- ½ c mayo (I used Hellman’s light)
- ½ c light sour cream
- 1 T fresh lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
- 2 T fresh dill, minced
- ¼ c fresh grated parmesan
- 2 T bacon fat (reserved from cooking the bacon)
- 1-1/2 T cider vinegar
- Fresh chives for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment.
- Place potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden, flipping halfway through.
- Add the corn and 3 garlic cloves to the second baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Cook the bacon in a large pan over medium-low heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 T of bacon fat for the dressing.
- When the corn and garlic are done, finely mince the roasted garlic. Mix in a large bowl with mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, dill, parmesan, reserved bacon fat, and cider vinegar. Taste and adjust the flavors to your preferences.
- In a large bowl mix together potatoes, corn, bacon, and prepared dressing.
- Garnish with chives.