I have a thing for pancetta— not just any old, plastic wrapped, sliced too thinly pancetta but the white butcher paper wrapped, fresh pancetta from Northern Waters Smokehaus in Duluth. Given my Irish heritage, I also have a thing for potatoes and for absolutely no reason other than it tastes good, I really like German potato salad. Last week, I got busy boiling, sauteing and mixing up my version of the perfect warm potato salad and it was really, really good— like 'lick your plate clean' kind of good. And to think, it all started with a package of pancetta— I love it when inspiration strikes in the form of cured pork.
Warm Potato Salad with Pancetta
1 pound baby Yukon Gold potatoes
1 Vidalia onion, sliced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
3 - 5 sprigs of lemon thyme
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
Salt and coarsely ground pepper, to taste
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook over high heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, shaking off any excess water.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and thyme sprigs, sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the onions and thyme sprigs, add the pancetta and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is golden and the butter is just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
Whisk the vinegar and mustard into the pancetta mixture; season with salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and the chives and toss until evenly coated. Serve the potato salad warm or at room temperature.