This salad hit the spot in a way not many can do.  It was such a perfect weeknight meal that I wish I could recreate it tonight and pronto.  And I would except that I used up all my fingerling potatoes and pancetta last night.   Regrettably I ate it far too quickly the first time around, forking up the potatoes and greens in a swift spin.  It was a dinner of pure delight.  It was pure unadulterated happiness … until I tried to do my back and core exercises on a stomach full of fingerling potatoes.

 

 

The glazed and golden potatoes are buttery and warm amongst the crunchy greens.  And the dressing?  The dressing is perfectly tangy and snappy with vinegar and shallots.  A warm salad on a cold night?  I sure hope I can find in season fingerling potatoes come November.

 

 

Glazed Fingerling Potato Salad with Pancetta and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette

From Fine Cooking 101, pp. 22-23

 

Serves four.

 

4 Tbs. unsalted butter

3/4 lb. fingerling potatoes (7 or 8 medium), quartered lengthwise

Kosher salt

2 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/3 cup)

5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbs. finely chopped shallot

3 Tbs. red wine vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Freshly ground black pepper

4 oz. escarole, torn into small pieces (6 cups)

1/2 cup shaved aged Gouda (1-1/2 oz.) (I'd skip this next time as I thought the cheese got lost amidst all the other goodness.)

 

Melt 2 Tbs. of the butter in a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes and enough water to just cover them (about 2 cups). Bring to a boil. Add 1 tsp. salt, cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the potatoes are just tender, about 8 minutes.  (I skipped covering the pan for 8 minutes, feeling that would take forever.  My potatoes were still cooked through nicely by the time the water boiled away and it saved probably 10 minutes.)  Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium high, and add the remaining 2 Tbs. butter. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until all of the liquid has reduced to a glaze and the potatoes are lightly browned, about 20 minutes more.

 

Meanwhile, cook the pancetta in an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. (I cooked shorter because I don’t like it too crispy.)  Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off any fat from the pan, return the pan to medium heat, and add 1/2 Tbs. of the oil. Add the shallot to the pan and cook, stirring, until tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and mustard and cook until the mustard is smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and gradually whisk in the remaining 4-1/2 Tbs. oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Put the escarole and pancetta in a large bowl and toss with 3 Tbs. of the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the salad and the potatoes among 4 salad plates and sprinkle with the cheese. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and serve.

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