Warm Potato Salad with Grainy Mustard, Bacon & Ramps

This past weekend was gorgeous and sunny and we spent a good part of it outdoors, puttering in the yard, walking down by the water, and picnicking on the grass. It seemed like all it took was that burst of heat and the whole countryside exploded into vibrant green foliage. Our forest is carpeted with trillium, ferns, and in certain areas, ramps.

Synonymous with spring, ramps, or wild leeks, are slender white bulbs with a delicate green fronds and a mild garlicy flavor that grow on the forest floor in Northern US and Canada.  Ramps are known as ail de bois up here, and are held in high regard by chefs and foodies alike. The fact that we have our own special stash behind our home is amazing and enough to make this chef-forager positively giddy.

Last Saturday I took my morning cup of coffee, donned my purple Croc boots, and set out to harvest ramps for the potato salad I was making for a pot-luck that evening. Within just a few minutes, I had a handful of ramps, but I lingered amidst the wildflowers to finish my coffee, and let the sweet smell of spring rain in the forest rejuvenate my spirit.

I’m not sure which was more rewarding, the few minutes of solace or the haul of ramps.

Although I have big plans to pickle a few ramps, make a log of compound butter or two, and turn them into pesto, all I had time for that morning was a quick wash, a chop, and into the potato salad they went. Surprisingly, the result was quite spectacular for so little effort.

I believe this dish is close to a German potato salad, with bacon and vinegar as the base of the vinaigrette, but I like to use sherry vinegar and add a dollop of grainy mustard to complement the bacon. The ramps replace green onions in this version, but don’t let that limit you to only making this salad in spring. Green onions are a perfectly acceptable addition for the rest of the year.

If the weather this past weekend is any inclination, summer is here, my friends. So fire up the barbecue, chill a nice wine, and make this potato salad for dinner tonight.


Warm Potato Salad with Bacon
5.0 from 3 reviews
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Recipe type: Salad
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 6
A deluxe potato salad, rich and tangy, that would make an ideal accompaniment to a barbecued dinner.
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs new red potatoes, skins on, scrubbed
  • 5 strips bacon, about 100 grams, diced
  • 8-10 young ramps or 5 green onions
  • 3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar (or apple cider)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 2 ribs celery
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut potatoes into 1-inch chunks and place in a medium sauce pot. Cover with cold water, add 1 teaspoon salt and place over a burner on high heat. Cook potatoes until tender, but not falling apart. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium heat and add bacon. Saute for about five minutes or until the bacon begins to crisp.
  3. While the bacon is cooking, chop the white and pale green parts of the green onion or ramp. Add to the bacon, stir well, and saute for a few more minutes.
  4. Remove bacon and onion from the pan and deglaze the pan with the vinegar. Use a spatula to scrape up all the bacon bits at the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the sugar, oil, and mustard to the pan and mix to combine.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine boiled potatoes, bacon and onions, and warm vinaigrette.
  7. Chop celery ribs finely and add to the bowl. Chop the dark green ends of the green onion and add them as well.
  8. Season the salad with salt and pepper and mix gently, but thoroughly. Serve at once.
Notes
A vegetarian version of this salad can be made by omitting the bacon and increasing the olive oil to 1/4 cup. This salad is best served warm. If you make it ahead of time, allow the salad to come to room temperature before serving.

Come join The Salad Social at TidyMom sponsored by The International Olive Council’s Add Some Life!

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About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. So you harvested your ramps!!! They look lovely!!! You are so fortunate to have them in your backyard! I had to pay $5.56 for 6 stalks…But it was worth it!!!
    Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings’s last post: Caprese Bites with Speck Ham on Sour Cream Biscuits

  2. tinafreysd says:

    Thanks for sharing this kind of post..
    tinafreysd’s last post: Overnight Acne Scar Removal: How to Get Rid of Acne Scars Fast!

  3. I love warm potato salads especially when they are full of such delicious flavours!
    Kathryn’s last post: rhubarb and basil galette

  4. This looks so delicious! Yum!
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar’s last post: Banana Walnut Oatmeal

  5. Yum! I love potato salad! I haven’t tried it warm though. You can find my recipe here http://www.townsend-house.com/2012/03/potato-salad-recipe.html
    Heather’s last post: lessons I have learned

  6. Sounds yummy. I have never liked mayonnaise-based salads but I bet this one’s awesome. I bet it would be great sprinkled lightly with some Parmesan or other hard cheese too….
    Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama’s last post: We Are Not a Burden

  7. I’ve never tried ramps and, though you said they grow in the North, I feel like we might have been left out of the equation in Northern Maine. I’ve never even heard of them!
    Jenna’s last post: How To Freeze Fiddleheads

  8. Cherylfnh says:

    Thanks for posting the pictures of ramps. I had never heard of them until this year and know that they grow wild. Now I have an idea of what they look like and can be watching for them when I’m out and about. Are they normally found in damp or drier areas?

  9. Perfect timing on this recipe. I was looking for something to do with potatoes that wasn’t mashed or roasted and it is still to cool for cold salads. I love it a warm salad. thanks.

  10. Thanks for the recipe and the information about ramps. I learned a lot from this post and I love your purple Crocs!

  11. Jennilyn says:

    Amazing dish! This is the first time that I have encountered with this food and it looks very great and delicious. Is it okay to have a sweet potato instead of a potato? Thanks for sharing this recipe to everyone by the way!
    Jennilyn’s last post: website

  12. Nothing better than grainy mustard and potatoes. Now I just need to find some ramps!
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen’s last post: Pea and Herbed Goat Cheese Tart | Spring on A Plate

  13. This potato salad looks and sounds delicious. It reminds me of my childhood and great hot summer nights. Thanks for sharing.
    Alessandra’s last post: Banana Rama Layered Dessert

  14. Girl! My dad is going to just love you to pieces. He is a ramp fanatic from childhood! It kills him every year since they don’t grow here on the coast and we don’t get back to the mountains like we used to. I can’t wait to share this with him :D
    Tickled Red’s last post: Neapolitan Cheesecake

  15. I have never seen ramps in my local store, but now I’ll have to seek them out. I love a warm potato salad and this one sounds incredible.
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction’s last post: Cashew Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting

  16. I absolutely love the sound of this potato salad… Yum!
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction’s last post: A Bun in the Oven… Sweet Strawberry Buns and an Announcement

  17. bethany says:

    I normally skip the potato salad at all potlucks and have NO interest in making it… However, I was curious about this “warm salad” with NO MAYO… yeah! And so, I am incredibly happy to report back that we LOVE this and am so converted that I am taking this to our BBQ potluck this Sunday. The world must know about this dish! hehehee…. thanks Aimee for another winner! :-)

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