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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lentil and Fingerling Potato Salad w/ Warm Bacon Dressing

This post is sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission. All opinions are my own.
Lentil and Fingerling Potato Salad w/ Warm Bacon Dressing
This week the Sunday Supper Movement is partnering with the Idaho Potato Commission to bring you a menu full of Potato Salad Possibilities. We have so many mouthwatering variations, that I know you'll find some to add to your own menus throughout the next couple of seasons!

Now, let's talk potato salad. There are as many kinds under the sun as there are people. Some are coated in a creamy mayonnaise base. Others are infused with tangy vinegar. And then there are the ones that fall somewhere in between. Guess what? As long as they're made well, I love them all.

Growing up, German Potato Salad was my absolute favorite. My grandma made it all summer long, so those tender potato slices laced with onion, bacon, and zingy vinegar are ingrained in my soul. And back then, I didn't like mayo, therefore I didn't like mayo-based salads - so hers was the end-all.

Lentil and Fingerling Potato Salad w/ Warm Bacon Dressing
I think that I truly developed a taste for mayonnaise after I made my own for the first time. Which is funny, because grandma almost always made her own. Sometimes things just don't click until you've made/done them for yourself.

But anyhoo, vinegar-based potato salads still remain my favorite. And since potatoes and bacon just go hand-in-hand, I almost always add it to my potato salad. The salad I'm sharing today is one that I make all summer long. It's not new, people have been making one similar to it for years. It combines hearty French lentils (which I think hold their shape best once cooked) with the potatoes and bacon, and they are tossed in a vinegar-based dressing. I like it best when served warm.

Here are a few more of my personal favorite varieties of potato salad, which incidentally would allow you to use all sorts of varieties of Idaho® potatoes, were you to try them: Sausage Potato Salad, Roasted Potato & Corn Salad w/ Bacon, Fingerling Potato Salad with Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette, and Beef and Potato Salad w/ Chipotle.

And in the spirit of full disclosure (in case it wasn't evident by the examples you've seen): I eat potato salad as a meal. True story.

Lentil and Fingerling Potato Salad w/ Warm Bacon Dressing
Fingerling potatoes, French lentils, bacon, onions, and herbs tossed in a vinegar-based dressing and served warm.
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Lentil and Fingerling Potato Salad w/ Warm Bacon Dressing
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: salad side dairy-free nut-free soy-free sugar-free bacon lentils potatoes July 4th Labor Day Memorial Day game day tailgating American summer

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
  • 6 ounces French green lentils
  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 8 ounces bacon, cut into 1/4" strips crosswise
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain garlic mustard (or whole grain dijon)
  • large handful parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
  • kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place rinsed and picked lentils in a medium sized pot and cover by a couple of inches with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until just tender, ~20 minutes. Drain.

At the same time, put the potatoes in a pot of salted water to cover by a couple of inches, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are just tender, ~10 minutes. Drain.

While those two pots are going, cook the bacon until done in a small skillet, then lift it out onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat.

Set back over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and celery. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until veggies just start to soften. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar, olive oil, and mustard.

Put the drained (and still warm) lentils and potatoes into a very large bowl. Pour the warm dressing over the top, add the bacon and the parsley. Very gently toss to combine everything. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve warm.
Lentil and Fingerling Potato Salad w/ Warm Bacon Dressing