I grew up avoiding the whole 'mayo-blanketed' summer BBQ salads that some find quite nostalgic. When I think about that beautiful buffet spread, glistening in the 80 degree summer sun with a gloppy mayonnaise mixture, I thought, there has to be another way. Replace the typical mayonnaise-coated potato salad with a lighter vinaigrette. The Dijon mustard gives the dressing a creamy texture, while the smoky pancetta with charred corn adds a complex flavor to this summery side dish. Serves 6-8
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
8 small red potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 ears of corn, husked
6 ounces pancetta, diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
For the dressing, in a bowl, add the shallot, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine.
Gradually add the olive oil, whisking constantly until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, and place the vinaigrette in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Scrub the potatoes, and place them in a large pot of salted water. Bring the potatoes to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes for 12 minutes. Drain into a colander, and set aside.
In a grill pan or a skillet set over medium heat, sear the corn on all sides, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Set the corn cobs aside until cool enough to handle. Holding each ear of corn upright in a wide bowl, use a serrated knife to slice the corn kernels off the cobs. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the pancetta. Cook for 4 minutes, then add the red onion, stirring to combine, and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
Add the corn to the pancetta mixture, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Cut the cooled potatoes into 3/4-inch cubes, and add them to the pancetta mixture. Sprinkle the parsley over top of the salad. Toss the dressing with the salad, and season with more salt and pepper, if you like.