This so-called salad is served warm in loose tangles instead of a slick, cold mound, with flavors feistier and brighter than potato salads usually get to wear. But most importantly, it’s everything you want a potato to be—from the other side of the spectrum: golden, well-salted, and crisp all over. If you can imagine a salad with the heart of a bag of salt & vinegar chips, this is it.
Getting this effect is simple (and fast): It’s a matter of roasting the potatoes in thin disks on scorching baking sheets, then giving the potatoes a final crisping under the broiler.
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Each cut side is exposed to the maximum searing dry heat (and seasoning and olive oil) to bring out its best extra-crispy qualities—while leaving just enough softness in the middle to keep it in the potato salad family, and not quite a chip.
If any of the potato not-chips stick to the pan, no fear: You splash a little vinegar onto the baking sheet to deglaze and release them. Warm potatoes also absorb dressings better, as good German potato salad recipes will tell you, so the sharp vinaigrette pierces through.
You’ll have sizzled together the rest of the salad in the meantime—soft, sweet curls of onion and garlic, smoky chorizo, and a final splash of vinegar—which can all quickly latch on to the warm potatoes, too.
The Toro Bravo cookbook credits one of the Portland restaurant's opening cooks Ryan Bleibtrey with the technique, though it’s continued to evolve since then. “Through the years this recipe has gotten better and better," the recipe’s headnote explains. "With every cook who’s put his or her touch on it.”
The salad (“salad”) is outrageously good with fried eggs, seared bluefish or grilled mussels, a gaggle of other salads, or all on its own. Make it the next time you want a lost sack of potatoes to quickly turn into something spectacular—like during the holidays when you're in need of an impressive, low-lift recipe that will wake everyone up. Or just tonight.
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I'm an ex-economist, ex-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."