My family's favorite potato salad is made with mayonnaise. But a few years ago I discovered a recipe that uses asparagus, bacon, fresh thyme, Parmigiano-Reggiano, dressed only with olive oil.
I tested the salad on my husband, and after he nearly emptied the entire bowl, he told me he loved it. This recipe can be doubled, and because it is made without mayonnaise, it holds up extremely well in hot weather.
ASPARAGUS, POTATO & BACON SALAD
- 8 slices applewood-smoked thick-cut bacon
- 12 small Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Leaves from 2 small bunches thyme
- 48 spears pencil-thin asparagus, tough ends trimmed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 bunches thyme
- Wedge Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook about 20 minutes or until cooked through but not crisp. Remove from oven, transfer to paper towels to drain. Let cool.
While the bacon is cooking, bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat and add the potatoes. Boil 5 to 8 minutes, depending on their size or until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain potatoes. When just cool enough to handle, peel away the skin with your fingers and break each potato into thirds and place in a bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly. Add thyme leaves and toss again.
When the bacon is removed from the oven, raise the oven to 450 degrees.
Place asparagus in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and toss to coat. Scatter the thyme sprigs on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Lay the asparagus spears in a single layer on top of the thyme. Roast for 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly colored and slightly shriveled but stiff to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool.
Cut the cooled asparagus on the diagonal into thirds. Cut the bacon crosswise on the diagonal into 1-inch wide pieces. Add the asparagus and bacon to the potatoes and toss to mix. Grate a generous amount of cheese on top. Serve immediately. Serves 8.
-- "Great Gatherings: Star Chefs Entertain at Home" by The Macy's Culinary Council (Book Kitchen, 2007, $29.95)
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