So I has this bright idea to enter a recipe contest for the new American potato salad. Writing a recipe from scratch for something like this is harder that I expected. There are so many junctions that would steer the dish in one direction or another. Do I put in green onions or fried sage (green onions – for the vibrant color and the added fresh crunch)? Do I make a warm vinaigrette or a dressing that is citrus based (I chose the latter, using lime, as it seemed less predictable)? Do I fry the sweet potato in bacon fat or go a healthier route? Hey… it’s a recipe contest and I was pulling out the big guns!
Even though it wasn’t a winner to the judges, it was a winner to my taste testers, and that’s really what made the attempt a success to me. Who knows – maybe this recipe will be in a Bistro OneSix cookbook some day. It never hurts to dream.
Sweet Potato Salad with Bacon & Spicy Candied Pecans
Makes 8 servings
Makes 8 servings
6 cups (2.5 lb) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
6 slices bacon
Salt & pepper
4 green onions, sliced
Spicy pecans (recipe below)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
Zest and juice from one lime
1 tsp dry mustard
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Toss sweet potato cubes with olive oil and spread on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until barely fork tender. Remove from oven and cool.
Meanwhile, cook 6 slices of bacon in a large fry pan over medium high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
Add cooled sweet potato cubes to the hot bacon grease in the fry pan. Cook undisturbed over medium high heat until the edges turn golden and crispy, approximately 4 minutes. Flip and continue cooking to brown other sides (Note: all sides don’t have to be browned – aiming for a nice mix between crisped and not crisped). Remove from heat and place cubes in a large mixing bowl. Cool.
Whisk all ingredients together for dressing. Add a little dressing to salad and toss to coat, allowing the potatoes to soak up the dressing before adding more. Keep adding dressing little by little until potatoes are saturated, but not soggy. There may be dressing left over. If so, reserve for another use (great on green salad as well). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Right before serving, crumble the bacon and add in along with the green onions and coarsely chopped spicy sweet pecans. Stir to mix. Serve at room temperature.
2 Tbsp agave syrup
1 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup pecan pieces
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Place silicon mat on rimmed baking sheet or coat pan with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients except the pecans in a bowl and mix well. Add nuts and stir to coat.
Place nuts on baking sheet in single layer and bake approximately 5 minutes. Stir and continue baking until golden and coating gets bubbly, about 10 minutes. Cool. Store in an airtight container.