I come from a long line of Southern women who believe that side dishes are a blend of nutrition and art. My mother will never serve corn and fried apples at the same meal--unless she balances the yellows with green beans or asparagus. She plays matchmaker with "sides," as she calls them, aiming for complimentary companions.
Entrees are easy, but I worry and worry about side dishes. I've been known to fall into a broccoli rut. My mother always tries to repeat flavors. If she marinates a chicken with lime juice, she will serve a key lime pie for dessert. A Granny Smith smothered pork roast will be paired with an apple raisin salad or apple tarts. And so on and so forth. A warm potato salad with a bacon vinaigrette is the perfect accompaniment for roasted chicken.
Warm Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
4 potatoes, cut into 1/8" slices
2 cups chicken broth
4-6 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons bacon drippings
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 Tablespoons country style Dijon mustard
sea salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
fresh thyme and Italian parsley
roasted red bell pepper (optional)
Fry bacon and onions. Set aside and reserve 2 tablespoons of drippings. Slice potatoes (unpeeled for a rustic salad) and place in a saucepan. Add 2 cups chicken broth. Cook potatoes 15 minutes over a low flame. Drain potatoes and place in a bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup chicken broth. Into a clean bowl, add broth, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, and bacon drippings. Whisk and pour vinaigrette over potatoes. Sprinkle with bacon and chopped herbs. Cover potatoes (I use a large dinner plate) and steep 15 minutes. Remove plate (or lid) and stir potatoes carefully, making sure you distribute the vinaigrette.
For perky color, add a sliced roasted red bell pepper.
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Adapted from a recipe in Potatoes: A Country Garden Cookbook.
Have you ever fallen into a "side" slump?
What are your go-to side dishes? Do you have favorite pairings?