This tangy, textured potato salad is much appreciated in Liguria, and it has become a favorite of mine. I like it best served warm—when the freshly cooked potatoes have just been tossed in the hot bacon-and- mustard dressing—though it is also delicious at room temperature, on a buffet or picnic table. As the name implies (and the slightly Nordic ingredients also suggest), this salad came to Liguria from somewhere else. Though I don’t know the precise origins, the Riviera Ligure has for centuries lured writers, composers, poets, and artists from other parts of Europe. Perhaps one of these creative types made this salad during a Ligurian sojourn. Certainly I have no objection that such a tasty dish, even if introduced by an outsider, took root in Liguria and became part of the regional cuisine.
- 2½ pounds red potatoes
- 1 cup finely chopped scallions
- ¾ cup sweet pickles (about 4 ounces), coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces slab bacon, cut in ½-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons German-style mustard
- ⅓ cup red-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
You will need a heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan, 10-inch diameter; a large bowl for dressing, tossing, and serving. Put the whole, unpeeled potatoes into a pot with 2 to 3 quarts cold water, enough to cover them by a couple of inches. Bring the water to a gentle boil, and cook the potatoes until a knife blade pierces them easily to the center, but don’t let them overcook, split, or get mushy. When done, drain the potatoes in a colander, peel them as soon as they’re cool enough to handle, and slice into 1-inch cubes. Immediately toss the warm cubes in a bowl with the chopped scallions and pickles and 1 teaspoon salt. Meanwhile, put the olive oil and bacon pieces in the skillet, and set it over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the bacon has rendered its fat and starts to crisp, 4 minutes or so. Whisk in the mustard and vinegar, and heat to a boil. Continue whisking until the dressing is smooth and emulsified, then pour it over the warm potatoes and toss. Sprinkle over it the chopped parsley, grinds of black pepper, and remaining teaspoon salt. Toss well, and serve right away.