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Mayonnaise scared the hell out of me for twenty years. Matter of fact, anything white did. Sour cream, ricotta cheese, creme fraiche, mascarpone, buttermilk, heavy cream, the middle of Oreo’s…for all I knew they were all the same.

But one day it all made sense to me. I was working in a French kitchen and made mayonnaise from scratch. I finally understood where the buoyant white jello-looking stuff came from and acknowledged that is has a place in certain recipes.


I made a version of this mayo-free potato salad without the bacon before I started professionally cooking. It got some weird looks from friends, so I put it away for a decade. A chef I recently worked for rekindled my idea by starting the whole process with bacon. Brilliant.

In the land of “creamy this” and “cheesy that,” I love to offer you a potato salad recipe that is neither but just as full-flavored. The flavors settle together subtly as it cools. This rivals the old kitchen sink German potato salad as the more sophisticated and slightly elegant version. Yes, I just referred to a dish with bacon as elegant. Obviously this is Matthew writing, not the lovely Abby.

No Mayo Potato Salad

1 pound bacon, cut into thin strips (the size of a matchstick)
2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes (approx 8-10), cut up and cooked until done in salted water
12 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
3 pattypan squash, cut into wedges
one green pepper, cut in thin strips
one bunch of scallions, cut on the bias (keep white and green parts separate)
2 ounces red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
one tablespoon salt
one teaspoon pepper

Render the bacon until crispy over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed pot. This important for two reasons. It will add crunchy texture to the salad. Secondly, maximizing the bacon here will allow you to not have to add any other oil or butter to create the creaminess.

Add your slivered garlic to the bacon and toast until lightly brown, about two minutes. Next add the patty pans, pepper and white scallion ends. Stir for about two minutes.

Then add the cooked potatoes and stir hard until the potatoes start to crumble slightly. This will aid in that creamy texture. Finally add the vinegar, salt and pepper and toss. Sprinkle with the green scallions and cool until it is ready to be served.