For me nothing makes a picnic more complete than a good old-fashioned potato salad. In my opinion, good potato salad has to have the right proportion of creaminess to chunkiness, mayonnaise to mustard, pickles to pickle juice, and bacon to boiled eggs. O.K. you can consider me a potato salad snob. In my experience, nobody’s potato salad compares to the one my MeMaw used to make-not even mine. I used to love to dive into her big blue bowl of warm potato salad. Just the thought of that makes me close my eyes and almost taste it. I so wish I could.
I know that one of MeMaw’s secrets to the best potato salad ever was the bacon fat. Yep, after frying up the crispy bacon for the salad, she poured in some of the fat. The rest of the bacon fat went to live with all the rest- in a silver lidded container to the right of the stove. Why? Because all good cooks know bacon fat makes everything better!
Today is the anniversary of my MeMaw’s passing. She left this earth 33 years ago, but her spirit will always be with me. It was in her kitchen that a little girl stood on a stool to stir and observe a grandmother’s creativeness. Her love of cooking birthed a similar passion in me. Today I celebrate her life and give thanks for all those hours she patiently taught me the joy of creating good meals in the simplest of ways. In some small way I hope my culinary career is a fitting memorial to her and her love of the kitchen and all its magic.
Speaking of magic, when I created this recipe repurposing potato salad, I was not consciously thinking that today is the anniversary of her death. I couldn’t help but chuckle, knowing full well that I would never be remaking over her potato salad-it was perfect just the way it was. As for any of the leftovers, they were perfect, too- cold, straight out of the blue bowl.
Roasting potato salad with either a mustard, mayonnaise or combination of both as a base lends itself to crispy potatoes. Add in sausage, apples, and peppers for an easy five ingredient one sheet pan meal.
Put Your TO COOK IS TO CREATE Thinking Cap on: What else would be good roasted with the potato salad? Onions? Mushrooms? How about adding some vegetables like broccoli or carrots? Not an apple fan? A roasted pear works, too. Think about what seasonings and additions are already in your potato salad and adjust accordingly. No sausage? Add sliced hot dogs or even cubed tofu! Like a good hash? Brown corned beef or ground beef and toss it in at the end of roasting or crumble cooked bacon on top. Have leftovers from your leftovers? Warm in a non-stick skillet and crack an egg on top. Let sit. Then flip and cook for over easy or hard egg. The egg holds the potatoes together making for a perfect sandwich.
FOOD FUN: My MeMaw always made the kitchen a fun place to be. There were never any crazy cooking ideas, they were all “let’s give it a try” ideas. One of my favorite “let’s give a try” ideas was her cold leftover Maque Choux stuffed into a homegrown cucumber drizzled with oil and vinegar. My MeMaw’s kitchen gave me my life’s calling–Who are you inspiring in your kitchen?