The Unicorn has lots of lovable qualities, but among them is this: He is a fantastic giver of gifts.
He is not a fan of the gift list—he’d much rather pay attention to the recipient, think hard about something they would love to have but would never buy for themselves, and then give them that. I don’t know many people who operate like this, and it’s pretty spectacular to be on the receiving end.
This year, that meant he gave me a controller that turns my slow cooker into a sous-vide machine, along with some other accessories perfect for making the sous-vide process easier. Not only would I not have bought one of these, I didn’t even know it existed. How The Unicorn found the dude in Canada who makes these things, I do not know, but he made it happen.
Of course, as I am wont to do, this meant that I let my excitement about my new toy get the better of me. I planned out four recipes, all vegetable-based, to start with in the cooker. None of them required long cooking times, but they did require the water to stay at a pretty hefty temperature.
I could not get the water to stay at that temperature on the first try. I should also mention that the first try lasted about ten hours, while I became more and more freaked out about the amount of raw ingredients I’d just bought for these dishes and how they were going to go to waste. Let it not be said I can’t turn what starts as a fun cooking day into something akin to a panic attack. I have mad skills in this area, folks. Mad skills.
One of the dishes I was going to make was a fingerling potato salad, and when it became obvious that the sous-vide solution was not forthcoming that evening, I varied the recipe to use the oven instead of the slow cooker. The result was outstanding: a bacony, rich dish that rides the line between German potato salad and the American rendition.
Even if it meant I didn’t get to use The Unicorn’s gift for this dish, it yielded a recipe I’ll return to. I hope you will try it, and return to it yourself.
Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad
3 pounds fingerling potatoes, cleaned and skins left on
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP salt
¼ pound bacon, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
¼ c. homemade mayonnaise (To make this, I recommend following the directions located here, but substitute red wine vinegar for the lemon juice, and leave out the garlic and basil.)
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP Dijon mustard
2 TBSP chopped parsley
1 TBSP chopped tarragon
- Boil the potatoes in heavily salted water until they are just starting to get tender. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Drain the potatoes and let them cool a bit. At this point, if you have a lot of variation in size, cut the larger ones in half, then toss the whole batch into a roasting pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, then toss with the salt. Roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the potato skins are crisping and starting to brown.
- While the potatoes are roasting, saute the bacon in a pan over medium heat until it begins to crisp and the fat begins to render. Add the carrots, garlic, shallots and celery to the pan and cook approximately five minutes, or until the shallots and garlic become soft.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven and place them in a large bowl. Add the onion-garlic-bacon mixture and mix.
- In a separate bowl, mix the mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard. Pour that mixture on top of the potato mixture and mix well. Sprinkle the herbs on top and serve immediately.