Baked Potato Salad

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To say that I love potatoes is an understatement. Being from Maine, I think potato adoration is built into our DNA. We ate potatoes multiple times a day, nearly every day when I was growing up. Fried potatoes for breakfast, baked potatoes for lunch, scalloped potatoes for dinner. I could go on and on.

At one point, we lived right across the street from a potato field. Once harvest season hit, we were coaxed into ‘borrowing’ potatoes from the freshly plowed fields. Can you tell I am still laden with guilt? Sorry to whomever we ‘borrowed’ from, but you did save a few kids from starving to death, so thank you.

It wasn’t until several years later when we moved to Florida when I learned how to make potato salad from a co-worker. Although I have tweaked it slightly, her potato salad recipe is still my favorite: hearty Yukon gold potatoes, bright green peas, briny olives, sweet Vidalia onions – yum. Unfortunately, my family doesn’t share my fondness for onions, so I needed to find a way to satisfy their taste.

A couple weeks ago, I scrubbed and baked potatoes that I would eventually turn into potato skins. I complained to my husband that I wanted to make potato salad but I knew no one would eat it with me because of the ‘dreaded’ onions. At that point, I had already baked all of the potatoes that I had on hand. My husband insisted that I still make myself potato salad using the baked potatoes. Surprisingly, the baked potatoes work much better than boiled potatoes, traditionally used in potato salad, because they are drier and won’t water-log your salad. Baked potatoes are also better than roasted potatoes in potato salad, because they absorb the dressing much easier.  Sure, it takes a little extra prep time, but I promise you, baking your potatoes is the way to go.

Knowing that my family loves potato skins, I decided to use similar ingredients in this updated potato salad. Who can resist creamy, tangy sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese, crispy, smoky bacon, and mildly-onion-y chives?

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Baked Potatoes
 
I bake my potatoes this way because this is how my mother in-law does it and you should always listen to your mother in-law. =)
Ingredients
  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Scrub potatoes under running water with a vegetable scrubber until completely clean
  3. Pat potatoes dry with paper towels
  4. Place potatoes on a baking sheet
  5. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, and rub to coat completely
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  7. Using a paring knife or a fork, prick each potato at least once to allow steam to escape while cooking
  8. Bake potatoes for an hour to an hour and a half depending on their size. You want your potato to feel soft and slightly indent when pressed.
  9. If using for potato salad, allow potatoes to cool on the baking sheet for about an hour.

 
Baked Potato Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, baked and cooled
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and crumbled
  • 6 oz sharp cheddar, grated or cut into small cubes ( I like to grate my own cheese for salads -- it just looks prettier, but feel free to use pre-grated cheese)
  • ¾ c sour cream ( I used reduced fat )
  • ½ c mayo
  • ½ c celery (optional, but I like the crunch)
  • 2 tbsp chives, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives or green onions for garnish
Instructions
  1. Cut cooked, cooled baked potatoes into bite size chunks, leaving the skin on. I cut mine in half lengthwise, cut each half in half again lengthwise, then cut 4-5 times crosswise for medium chunks.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sour cream and mayo. Stir until smooth.
  3. Add celery, chopped chives, about 8 slices of the crumbled bacon, 4 oz of the cheddar cheese. Stir to combine.
  4. Add chopped baked potatoes, gently tossing until completely coated.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste
  6. Garnish with remaining 2 slices of crumbled bacon, 2 oz cheese, and chopped chives or sliced green onions.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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