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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fingerling Potato Salad with Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette

It's that time of year again...PICNIC TIME!  That's right, June 18th is National Picnic Day and every June for the past three years I've celebrated with Louise from Months of Edible Celebrations and everybody else who contributes to the giant picnic basket in the online picnic game.  There's something so intriguing about a picnic.  Food tucked away in crinkly wrappers and firm-sided containers...silverware and plates that run from plastic to bamboo to silver...bottles of wine and a corkscrew with some plastic stemware or sturdy plastic cups...linen napkins or papertowels...all snuggled in a cooler or a romantic basket.  Picnics can be as simple and no-fuss as sandwiches, fresh cut fruit and veggies, potato chips, cookies and cold, bottled water.  Or they can be as luxurious and sexy as smoked salmon with cream cheese spread, red onions and capers atop homemade crackers, fresh fruit gallettes, and a bottle of wine.  I think that is part of the fun...part of the surprise!  The fantastic thing about an online picnic is the variety of food that is in the basket, all contributed by a different person from the letter A to the letter Z.

One of my favorite picnic foods is potato salad.  I love it because you can dress it up or dress it down.  Soak it in a tangy vinaigrette of fold it into a creamy mayonnaise.  It can be mild and unassuming or zest and in-your-face.  You could probably make a different type of potato salad for every person in the world.  This is my current favorite.  I love potatoes and fresh green beans together...and I love using baby potatoes or fingerlings in a variety of colors (it adds to the fun).  The vinaigrette alone is a fantastic dressing not only for the potato salad, but also for spinach salads or other dishes in place of a plainer vinaigrette.  Enjoy...and let the picnic games begin!
Fingerling Potato Salad w/ Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette
adapted from Midwest Living June '11
serves ~8

salad ingredients:
1½ lbs. Fingerling Potatoes
sea salt or kosher salt
8 oz. fresh green beans, ends snapped
1 smallish red onion, sliced paper thin
1 lb. bacon
~2 oz. Feta cheese

honey-thyme vinaigrette:
¼ c. cider vinegar
1 shallot, peeled
2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
1½ tsp. Dijon mustard
½ c. canola or vegetable oil
sea salt or kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

make the Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette:
Combine cider vinegar, shallot, honey, thyme leaves, and Dijon in the jar of a blender and process until smooth.  Throw in a couple pinches of salt and a few good grinds of pepper.  With blender running, slowly pour in oil in a steady stream until thick and glorious.  Set aside. (yield: ~1 c.)
prepping potato salad ingredients:
Place scrubbed potatoes in a large pot with water to cover by at least an inch.  Add about a teaspoon or so salt and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to a simmer and let cook ~8-10 minutes, or until just tender.  Drain and then spread the potatoes out on a sheet tray to cool until you are able to handle them.

Bring about a quart of salted water to a boil and add the green beans.  Let cook ~3 minutes, or until just al dente.  Quickly drain and shock the beans in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and hold in the bright color (no army green-beans here...).  Once they are cooled, drain beans for a few minutes.

By now the potatoes should be cool enough to handle.  I do prefer them to still be slightly warm, though.  This helps them soak up the vinaigrette.  Slice them in half lengthwise.  Add the potatoes to a large bowl with the green beans and red onion, then toss everything with about half of the vinaigrette.

Cover the bowl and store in the refrigerator* until ready to use.  In the meantime, I like to put the bacon in the freezer for ~½ hour, then take it out and slice it crosswise into ¼-½" strips.  Add the strips to a frying pan, pulling them apart from each other as you do a bit, with your fingers.  Cook gently, continuing to break the bits apart with your spoon, until just done.  Remove to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon.  Once cool, store in a baggy or container at room temperature until ready to serve.  (Reserve bacon grease for another use.)

putting it all together:
When you are ready to serve your potato salad, toss everything in the bowl around again.  If you would like to add more of the vinaigrette, do that at this time (if not, reserve the remainder for another use).  Toss in the reserved bacon and crumble in the Feta and serve.

*I also like to eat this salad warm.  If you would like to do that, then have the bacon ready at the same time as your potatoes and green beans, then simply toss everything together and serve.

I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing...*
Apricot Cobbler
Banana Cream Pie
Cherry Bars in a Jar
Diva Doggie Bites
Emeril's Strawberry Lemonade

I am sharing this post with:
The Picnic Game @ Months of Edible Celebrations
 Tasty Tuesday at Naptime Creations
HearthandSoulBadge-1 Tasty Tuesdays 33 shades of green delectabletuesday PeppersTuesdaysTastyTidbits TastyTuesdayBB tastytuesdayfortheloveofblogs tuesdays at the table

Would you like to comment?

  1. Really good sauce! Have a good day, Laura

  2. Fantastica ensalada, me encanta como te ha quedado.


  3. Love that Vinaigrette combo! What a lovely spread for a perfect picnic, H.

  4. Fingerling potatoes are the best, I love using them. I'm a big fan of warm potato salad so that's how I'd be eating this. It looks so colourful, delicious and healthy Heather!

  5. This recipe is definitely tempting me to put aside my mayonnaise laden potato salad recipe and give it a try. Sounds delicious Heather.

  6. Fingerling potatoes make me so happy. ☺ Love the dressing and the bacony goodness too!

  7. What a great picnic dish! It looks delicious and fingerling potatoes are perfect for it.

  8. Heather, it took me a minute.... are the large purple ingredients purple potatoes??? I just got accepted to this months 24X24. My task is a trip to the farmer's market. This is now on my menu!!!!

  9. @Dave...yes, they are purple fingerling taters!! Awesome, can't wait to read your 24x24 =)

  10. This is it! This is what I'm making for a party that we are attending on Monday night. It looks absolutely fabulous. thank you thank you thank you!

  11. wow, I love the salad ingredients as well as your dressing, yum !!!

  12. This sounds like an interesting departure from the boring old usual potato salad! Thanks!

  13. I'm partial to "different" potato salads rather than the usual mayo, potato mix. Roasted potato salad and potato salad w/ blue cheese, bacon, and caramelized onions top my list. I have a feeling this potato salad would also find a high place on that list! The vinaigrette sounds super.

  14. Hmm tasty potato salad. Will make it for dinner tomorrow.

  15. I have been craving potato salad in the worst way lately. I love all the ingredients in this one and would love to give it a try. I've never veered from the traditional mayo salad.

  16. love to bring new and different recipes to picnics thanks for sharing come see me at and see what we shared

  17. Wow that honey thyme vinaigrette sounds AWESOME! As does national picnic day in general. Can't go wrong spending the day in the sun and eating good food!

  18. You'll be the most popular girl at the picnic. honey and thyme....impressive :-)

    I tried to leave you a comment this morning when you were up to 6 comments - internet crapped out on me. Crap.

  19. I love a picnic! No picnic is complete without potato salad, and this looks yummy. I love that dressing! :)

  20. WOW! This sounds amazing! I love potato salad as well and I always love how everyone has their own version

  21. potato salad is my favorite picnic dish too, hands down! this looks awesome, i love the use of fingerling potatoes. i just bought a big bag the other day. what is it about fingerling potatoes that is so irresistible!

  22. bacon...those potatoes, THAT Vinaigrette! Omg. I need that in my life. I can just imagine that I would want to pour that vinaigrette over anything that would stand still long enough for me too. LOL.

  23. I love your version of potato salad and I love this event. It sounds like fun!

  24. This looks so good and I love the green beans in there. The vinaigrette sounds great!

  25. Wonderful picnic fare and gorgeous salad...really love this vinaigrette!
    Very refreshing change from normal picnic salads :)

  26. What a wonderful salad and I am loving the bacon and feta combo.

  27. Love, love, love that vinaigrette Heather! It sounds so tasty. And your salad is just beautiful - what gorgeous colours and flavours. It would be the star of any picnic feast! Thank you for sharing it with the Hearth and Soul blog hop.

  28. Thanks for linking up to Tasty Tuesday! Just wanted to let you know I'll be feturing you next week. Stop by and grab a button!

  29. Hi Heather!!!

    Sorry it took me so long to get here. The Picnic Game sure has been keeping busy. You can't imagine the goodies we're having this year. I'd say, indescribable for the time being.

    And how could we possibly have an online picnic without YOU and this "dressed up" potato salad. It sounds delicious! (I like warm pot salad too:) Oh Heather it is going to be another fabulous picnic this year with a basket full of all kinds of goodies. I just can't wait!!!

    Thank you so much Heather...

  30. Hi there, what a healthy basket of salad you're bring along. Ooo... I better get ready. Can't wait till the 1st of JUly! Happy Picnic & enjoy your day.

  31. Love the combinations of ingredients in thie perfect potato salad. My husband is not a big fan of mayo, so I know this one make him a happy picnic guy.

  32. wow, sounds so delicious and i love the colors, looks great! thanks for sharing and visiting from tuesday's tasty tidbits! have a great week! btw, i love the new header. :)

  33. Wonderful! Perfect for a picnic and I do love fingerlings!

  34. I love the feta cheese in this colorful salad. A perfect picnic dish.

  35. I love the idea of feta and green beans mixed with the potatoes and that dressing sounds great. I can't wait to try this.