Make Ahead

Potato Salad with Fennel and Shallot Relish and Bacon

December 10, 2009
3 Ratings
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is a variation of what my mother always called "German Potato Salad,"one of my favorite dishes when I was growing up. What I've always loved about potato salads made this way is their strong vinegar flavor. I put vinegar on and in just about everything. The more you can taste the vinegar (usually), the better. I've included a recipe for Fennel Relish here, but you could also use quick pickled chard stems or (my mouth is watering as I write this), chopped sauerkraut, or even simply some really nice quality dill pickles. Whatever you do, be sure to use the flavorful brine or pickled liquid to make the dressing. This recipe serves four, but can be doubled, tripled, or made in even larger quantities. Serve it warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!! ;o) - AntoniaJames

Test Kitchen Notes

This salad is packed with appealing flavors -- bacon enriches the dressing, the fennel relish lends tartness and crunch, and the herbs and sauteed celery soften the edges. AntoniaJames has thought through every detail, devising a cooking method that yields a very satisfying, full-flavored potato salad. - Kristen —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • The Potato Salad
  • One recipe of Fennel and Shallot Relish (or one of the options suggested in the headnote)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced celery (optional), plus a few celery leaves, chopped
  • 1 pound of small red and/or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 slices natural bacon
  • Olive oil to taste (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse brown mustard (Dijon also works well.)
  • 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup (if necessary)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or minced chives, or both (including bright green parsley stems, if desired)
  • 1-2 tablespoons vinegar, to taste
  • Fennel and Shallot Relish
  • 1 small fennel bulb (large enough to make one cup when finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup cup champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar, if you prefer)
  • 1 large pinch of salt
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  1. The Potato Salad
  2. Scrub and put the potatoes, unpeeled, into a pot that's large enough to cover them with 4 inches of cold water. Cook until just tender.
  3. When the potatoes are cooked, turn off the heat but leave them in the pan with the hot water. Take them out, one at a time, to do the following: Cut each potato into slices that are about 1/2 inch thick. They should be hot while you are cutting them. (Using a small spoon in my left hand to hold each potato steady, I cut them on a large dinner plate and leave them on the plate while slicing the others.) Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of vinegar on the slices after each potato has been cut. This allows the potatoes to absorb the vinegar while still hot. I use a tiny pitcher or my OXO 1/4 cup measure for this. Some of the peel may come loose, but don't worry about it.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, sauté the bacon in a skillet large enough to hold the potatoes and the fennel. While the bacon is cooking, chop the herbs.
  5. When the bacon is done, remove it from the pan and drain all but two or three tablespoons of the bacon fat. (You can remove it all and use olive oil, if you prefer.) Coarsely chop the bacon into 1-4 to 1/2 inch pieces.
  6. If you are using celery, add it to the skillet and heat very briefly. Deglaze the pan over low heat very briefly, using 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar from the fennel relish. If you don't have that much left after sprinkling it on the potatoes, add some fresh vinegar. Turn off the heat.
  7. Add mustard, to taste, and stir. If the mustard or the vinegar from the fennel is too sharp for your taste, add a teaspoon or two of maple syrup. Be careful not to cook this mixture too much, as it will be the dressing for the potatoes, so you don't want much to evaporate.
  8. Add the fennel relish and stir well over a low heat. Add the bacon and parsley (plus the chopped celery leaves and fennel leaves, if you are using them). Toss to combine. Turn off the heat.
  9. Test for salt and add some, if necessary. Add freshly ground pepper, if you like.
  10. Finally, add the potato slices and very gently toss. They'll be rather fragile, so be careful.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can make this ahead, but just make sure that it's at room temperature when you serve it.
  12. Enjoy!!! ;o)
  1. Fennel and Shallot Relish
  2. Peel, remove the tops and hard bottom from, and finely chop the fennel bulb. You should have about one cup, chopped.
  3. Chop the bright green leaves of the fennel, if there are any, to add with the fresh herbs in the potato salad, and set aside.
  4. Put the chopped fennel in a small heavy saucepan with the remaining ingredients.
  5. Simmer for about four minutes, then turn the heat off and let sit for another ten minutes or so.
  6. Drain and reserve the vinegar, to use in the potato salad.
  7. Enjoy!! ;o)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • healthierkitchen
  • SKK
  • ChefJune
  • SallyCan

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

See problem, solve problem. Ask questions; question answers. Disrupt, with kindness, courtesy and respect. ;o)

18 Reviews

AntoniaJames May 24, 2023
Thank you, everyone, for your amazing support in the first round. As a very shy person with naught but the slightest Instagram presence (no "posse," as Toby would say), I am grateful and humbled to have advanced to the second round! Here is a link to the second round of voting -- today, May 24, and tomorrow morning only - to advance to the final round tomorrow:
The link is also now in my Instagram Bio (thanks to the kind and always generous sdebrango for suggesting that).
Many thanks, for everything. ;o)
AntoniaJames May 23, 2023
Thank you so much, Food52, for selecting this, the third recipe I ever posted on Food52 - over 12 years ago!! -- for the current Food52 contest, now being conducted via Instagram. The link for voting is here if anyone seeing this on May 23 - the only day voting is open for this recipe in the first round -- is so inclined. If enough votes are secured today, it will go into the second round, voting for which is tomorrow, May 24. Thank you, everyone. ;o)
drbabs May 23, 2023
Wow, that’s awesome! Congratulations!
AntoniaJames May 23, 2023
Thank you, drbabs! Hope you and yours are all well. ;o)
luvcookbooks May 24, 2023
Cheers! Somehow missed this in 2009, saving now!
AntoniaJames May 24, 2023
Thank you, luvcookbooks. i hope you like it. It was one of my favorite dishes growing up. Vinegar + bacon? Yes, please. ;o)
healthierkitchen April 23, 2013
I'm so glad you submitted this as I seem to have missed it in the past. Looks delicious and I can think of many uses for the relish!
SKK June 3, 2012
AJ, I don't know how I missed this! Thank you for reposting it. It is on the menu for this week.
ChefJune June 17, 2011
Merciful Heavens! I'm just seeing this now for the first time. This is a MUST MAKE! Love potatoes and fennel together. If I cook on Sunday for Daddys' Day, I'm going to make this to go with my quickie ribs. Thank you thank you thank you thank you!
SallyCan June 1, 2010
Your fennel and shallot relish became the most wonderful base for our pasta salad tonight~mixed with sliced mushrooms, artichokes, fresh oregano, parsley, and the fennel greens as above, with the cooking vinegar, balsamic vinegar and oil. We had it with greens and BC's chicken, spinach, and feta sausage links. :)
AntoniaJames June 2, 2010
Mmmm, yummm. Sounds so tasty. Especially that sausage. I want to eat dinner at YOUR house! ;o)
drbabs May 26, 2010
Very nice recipe--great combination of flavors! (I'm not a fan of either potato or green bean salad--yours sounds really good.)
AntoniaJames May 26, 2010
Well, thank you. We're not crazy about more conventional potato salads, either. We like this one, though (a lot) . . . . ;o)
Kayb May 26, 2010
I have to confess, I have never cooked with fennel. I believe this recipe will be enough to induce me to do so!
AntoniaJames May 26, 2010
I hope it does! Thanks so much. ;o)
TheWimpyVegetarian December 11, 2009
This looks like a wonderful combination of flavors! I love fennel and we're so lucky to have to much of it at the farmer's markets - I'm looking forward to trying your recipes with it.
jennho June 26, 2010
This is a wonderful idea. Definitely more creative than the usual mayonnaise and mustard based recipes. I'm really excited to try this recipe! =)
Maria T. December 10, 2009
I love potato salad, the fennel with the Champagne vinegar, terrif! Thank you for sharing the recipe.