Summer is upon us and fresh flavours are a necessity. Salads are quite refreshing when the heat is on, but unfortunately they get a bad rap, probably because a lot of people just making them wrong. Salads can be fascinating, complex and absolutely delicious. Just like this one. Actually this one is delicious because we put Maple Leaf Bacon in the potato salad recipe.

This takes my most favourite ingredient, bacon naturally, and combines it another one of my most favourite ingredients, potatoes, to give a ridiculously delicious side dish for a summer outing. Great for bringing to a picnic or a potluck or a barbecue. Here we go:

Ingredients

6 strips Maple Leaf Bacon

1-1/2 lb Baby red potatoes

1 clove Garlic

3 tbsp (45 mL) Olive oil

2 tsp White wine vinegar

8-10 sprigs Fresh thyme

¼ cup Chopped parsley

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp Paprika

¼ to 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper

1 tsp Black pepper

TIP: Increase or Decrease the amount of cayenne pepper for more or less heat.

Directions

1. Get a pot of heavily salted water going on the stove. I say heavily salted because potatoes love salt and this is a good way to get flavour right through the potato, not just on the surface.

2. Give your potatoes a good scrubbin’. We’re not gonna peel them so make sure they’re nice and clean. If you have a brush to do this, that’s perfect.

3. Cut your potatoes into quarters or in half if they’re really small. Try to keep them mostly the same size so that they cook evenly. Speaking of which, toss these in the boiling water. They should take roughly 10-15 minutes to cook, depending on the size of your pieces.

4. Cut up your bacon into pieces about ¾“ wide, and toss it into a frying pan. Cook until crispy.

5. In the meantime, let’s make our dressing. We should be able to multi-task when we’re frying bacon by now. Take off the leaves of about 10 sprigs thyme into a bowl. You can do this easily by sliding your fingers from the tip of the sprig down to the base. The leaves should fall right off.

6. Add in the rest of your spices to the mixture (garlic, parsley, Dijon, paprika and cayenne pepper) as well as your olive oil and white wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Give everything a good stir.

7. Since your bacon is crispy by now, dump everything from the pan (bacon grease and all) into your bowl. The heat from the oil should cook the garlic slightly and bring all the flavours together.

8. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them really well in a colander.

9. While the potatoes are still hot, toss them with the freshly prepared dressing. Mix well. The potatoes will take on a lot more flavour from the dressing while they’re hot.

10. Grab a potato, shove it in your mouth, and check to see if it needs salt. It probably will.

11. Pass those potatoes around!