If you're anything like me, you're thinking, "Ugh. Not potato salad." But don't click away. I promise you this is not the sort of potato salad that sits untouched at a picnic, warming its mayonnaise-drenched parts in the sun and attracting flies. This is the sort of potato salad that features still-warm grilled potatoes and bursting sweet tomatoes, salty bits of bacon, and sensational grilled romaine. It's the sort of potato salad you eat as soon as it's ready, savoring each bite, appreciating the contrast in flavors, the carefully chosen ingredients, and the lack of mayonnaise.
I first made a grilled potato salad following a recipe in Cook's Illustrated's Summer Grilling issue. That particular salad paired grilled potatoes with arugula and yellow peppers. We enjoyed it as a side to grilled pork. I loved the way the potatoes came out so much that I started thinking about other ingredients to pair them with, and that's where this BLT-style salad came in.
The salad can be served as a side or a first course for four or can make a dinner salad for two with the addition of some optional ingredients, like grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, or sliced avocado.
Grilled Potato Salad, BLT Style
(adapted from Summer Grilling)
This grilled potato salad puts mayonnaise-drenched potato salads to shame.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: Serves 2 to 4
6 strips bacon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (I used Cabernet vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
Kosher salt and pepper
12 ounces small new potatoes
12 grape or cherry tomatoes
2 romaine hearts, halved lengthwise
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Sliced avocado (optional)
Grilled chicken, cut in 1-inch pieces (optional)
Cook bacon until crisp and transfer to paper-towel-lined plate. When cool, crumble or cut in small pieces.
Whisk together 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Slowly whisk in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Then stir in shallot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set dressing aside.
Prepare hot fire and heat grill. (Burners on high for gas grill.)
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in Dutch oven or large, wide pot. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Meanwhile, quarter new potatoes and slide onto wooden skewers (cut the skewers down to fit into the pot if necessary), skin sides facing out. Boil potatoes for 10 minutes or until you can easily pierce them with a knife.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a paper towel. Using tongs, transfer potato skewers to paper towel. Dry potatoes and discard paper towels. Brush potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place tomatoes on a sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Set on grill. Grill until warm and starting to burst.
Grill potatoes until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Slide off skewers into large serving bowl. Toss with 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar.
Brush romaine halves with oil on cut sides. Grill cut sides down until charred and wilted. Transfer to cutting board, cut into pieces and add to bowl with potatoes. Toss with half of dressing.
Divide dressed potato-lettuce mixture among plates. Top with tomatoes and bacon.
If desired, top salads with cheddar cheese, avocado, and/or chicken. Serve with remaining dressing.
What's in your ideal potato salad?