Last week was the 4th of July, which I realized is my favorite holiday. Everything about the 4th of July is good: eating grilled things, eating baked beans, lots of drinking, usually swimming in lakes, fireworks, being outside in beautiful weather, lots more drinking, sparklers, falling asleep in the car on the way home, etc. There’s nothing bad about this holiday. My love for the 4th of July has almost nothing to do with patriotism, interestingly. Not that I don’t love America. BECAUSE I DO. I think my favorite thing about America is the fact that we can fearlessly make fun of whoever we want, but also: the freedom for people to set off fireworks in the street outside my building until 2 am even though it’s a school night, and my freedom to yell obscenities at them for doing so. Ah, America. The only thing Christmas (traditionally my favorite holiday) has on the 4th of July is mimosas and honey baked ham.
So because I’m a real American, I celebrated the 4th of July by eating baked beans and drinking. I mostly slowly sipped shots of orangecello and I made pulled pork instead of burgers with my baked beans, but still, it counts. I also made a nice potato salad of NOT THE MAYONNAISE VARIETY. This potato salad is a lot like German potato salad, with the addition of Swiss chard or kale. The chard makes it seem like you’re making something healthy, which you are, if things can still be healthy when they have a gloss of bacon fat. I made mine with baby Dutch yellow potatoes, which are delicious and buttery. You could also make this with fingerlings or redskins, but I really think the Dutch yellows are the nicest. In any case, make this with a baby potato so it stays delicate.
Baby Potato Salad with Chard and Bacon
2 lb baby Dutch yellow potatoes, scrubbed
1 bunch Swiss chard or kale, cut or ripped into 2 inch pieces (To prepare kale or chard, wash each piece pretty carefully, they hold a lot of sand and grit. When they’ve been satisfactorily rinsed, rip or cut out the center stem of each leaf. Discard the stems, and chop or rip the remaining leaves into bite sized-ish pieces.)
5-6 slices bacon, chopped (I cut up my bacon with a pair of kitchen scissors I use only for cutting up bacon.)
3 large shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp whole grain mustard
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper
Method: In a large pot full of water, boil the whole baby potatoes with a few pinches of salt, until they are fork tender. Remove them to a colander and let them drain until cooled to room temperature. When they’ve cooled, cut them into quarters and put them in a large pan or bowl, whatever you want to serve the potato salad in. In a large saute pan on medium heat, cook the bacon pieces until crispy. Remove the bacon pieces to a paper towel lined plate. Turn the heat down to low and put the shallots and garlic into the bacon fat, cooking until translucent, probably 10-15 minutes. Then add the mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, brown sugar and salt and pepper, and let cook 5 more minutes. Pour half the dressing over the potatoes, leaving the other half in the pan. With the pan still on low heat, put the chard into the pan in a big layer, moving it around every 30 seconds or so with tongs. It will slowly wilt and shrink in size. When it’s all wilted but still green and mixed up with the remaining dressing, pour the chard over the potatoes and mix well. Mix the bacon back into the salad and serve warm or at room temperature.