Back then, people were extremely fat phobic and owner Axel Roelz grew weary of people telling him that they “never used bacon” and so, when customers asked for the recipe, he left out the most important step, marinating the warm potatoes in hot bacon fat. People would complain that their version wasn’t as good as the restaurant’s but they still wouldn’t make the obvious leap, that the bacon fat is essential to the salad’s alchemy. Most of us are no longer that fat phobic but, if you choose to leave out that step, don’t complain.
Marshall House Potato Salad
More than two decades after the closing of Marshall House, the Santa Rosa restaurant that was where Ca’Bianca is now, people still talk lovingly about the potato salad.
- Serves 6 to 8
- 3 pounds potatoes (medium Yukon Gold or Russets)
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 8 ounces bacon, diced
- 2 tablespoons stoneground mustard
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 6 ounces beef stock
- 1/2 cup distilled vinegar
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- 3 tablespoons minced parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 or 3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in wedges
- Tomato wedges for garnish
- Sprigs of Italian parsley for garnish
Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, add one tablespoon of the salt and the caraway seeds, bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, from 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain the water from the potatoes and let them sit until cool enough to handle. Peel, cut into very thin slices and set aside.
Fry the bacon until crisp, use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to absorbent paper and pour the drippings over the warm potatoes.
Combine the mustard and mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil, stock, vinegar, onions, parsley, remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, white pepper and sugar and stir well. Add the bacon and stir again.
Set aside about a tablespoon of the dressing and fold the rest into the potatoes. Taste and correct for salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with eggs and tomatoes. Drizzle with the reserved tablespoon of dressing and serve immediately.
You can use any variety of radish in this dish but whenever I can I use two kinds, familiar round red radishes for the vinaigrette and delicate French breakfast radishes, ...