To put it mildly, Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter has a thing for bacon. This winter, in fact, she wrote a story confessing that one of her favorite Christmas gifts ever was a 6-pound variety pack of the stuff. "Now if that's not true love, I don't know what is," she wrote. The simple fact is bacon does make almost everything taste better, a point Carter pushed to the maximum in the same story with a coffee cake studded with apples and bacon. That was good, but this potato salad was even better. This is far from a one-note recipe. Roasting the potatoes concentrates their earthy flavor, and binding them and the bacon together with mayonnaise spiked with the sharp flavors of capers and red onion is the perfect contrast.
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10
4 pounds new or fingerling potatoes, cleaned and halved lengthwise
3/4 teaspoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound thick-cut bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard, or to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or to taste
1/2 red onion, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 1/8 -inch slices
1/4 cup capers
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the garlic, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Place the potatoes in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast the potatoes until golden brown and tender, about 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Remove and cool.
2. While the potatoes are roasting, cut the bacon crosswise into one-fourth-inch pieces. Cook the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently, watching that the bacon does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the grease for another use.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard and red wine vinegar. Season with one-half teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Taste and adjust mustard, vinegar and seasoning if desired.
4. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and bacon with the sliced onion. Gently stir in enough dressing to coat, then stir in the capers. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
5. Cover and refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to develop. The salad will keep for 3 days, refrigerated. Allow the salad to warm slightly at room temperature before serving.
Each of 10 servings: 420 calories; 11 grams protein; 34 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 28 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 29 mg. cholesterol; 696 mg. sodium.