Wowee! It is cold outside. Here in the Midwest, we went from high summer (temps in the high 80s and overwhelming tomato abundance) to deep fall (like the “should we turn the heat on” kind of fall day) in the blink of an eye. And honestly, all of Wisconsin is not really sure how to feel about it.
I got really excited for a second. I pulled out my sweaters, poured myself a big glass of red wine (instead of my usual chilled white), and downloaded Harry Potter 2, 3 and 4 on Audible. I was really leaning into all the coziness until I suddenly remembered it’s only the second week of September and we have 6+ months of cozy ahead. I mean it’s not even real, official fall yet! Let’s hold the phone just a minute here.
I feel pretty much exactly the same way about the foods coming out of our fields as I do about celebrating coziness. I was eagerly grabbing for the acorn squash and leeks until I realized all this drizzle and cold meant an abrupt end to tomato season, and that reminded me that I’d be eating things like acorn squash and leeks until mid-March.
So, like any reasonable farmer would do, I panicked.
And then began the completely manic sprint to preserve the last of the subpar tomatoes. I grabbed any seconds we had available at the farm and went totally crazy. We put 30+ pints of tomato products (tomato sauce, pizza sauce, tomato soup, stewed tomatoes) into our freezer last week and then started on the peppers. We’ve got another 20+ jars of pepper products ready for the pantry. And we’re no where near done.
I finally understand food preservation a little bit better. I don’t think it actually has anything to do with saving money or preserving the bounty. It’s just an avoidance technique for colder temperatures. Like, can winter ever really arrive if I keep enough summer in my freezer? That’s my goal. Pretend the worst parts of winter don’t exist. Balance all those root vegetables with loads of bright, colorful frozen summer.
Anyhow, this recipe celebrates all of these feelings. It’s got potatoes and kale- two vegetables starting to make a much bigger and bolder statement at farmers’ markets around the Midwest as the tomatoes begin to significantly drop in volume. BUT, it’s potato salad. It’s a food of summer. It’s creamy and cool and meant to accompany grilled things.
In other words, this Roasted Potato & Kale Salad beautifully celebrates the co-mingling of these two seasons. The end of summer and the start of fall. The warm days and the crisp, cool nights. The start of football season and the rise of meals around bonfires. That September kind of coziness that can only come from being wrapped in sunshine during the day and a warm blanket at night.
I hope you enjoy it. It’s been a favorite recipe of ours for years.
ROASTED POTATO & KALE SALAD
Takes 1 hour, 15 minutes (mostly inactive)
6 pieces bacon
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 stalks kale, stems removed and roughly torn or chopped
1/2 bunch scallions or 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped dried parsley
- Place bacon on large baking sheet. Place in a cold oven. Turn oven to 400 degrees and set timer for 15 minutes. Check bacon then and set the timer for longer if needed. You are looking for crisp, fully browned bacon. It may take 20-25 minutes if using something more thick cut. Set bacon slices on a paper towel to drain the grease.
- Add potatoes to bacon pan. DO NOT WIPE. You want all that yummy bacon fat.* Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes, tossing once in the middle. Add kale and roast 5-10 minutes longer until both the potatoes and kale are crisped.
- Roughly chop the bacon and add to a large bowl with roasted potatoes and kale. Add scallions or onions. Toss gently to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt**, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and parsley until smooth. Add to potato mixture and gently fold sauce in with a spatula. Serve warm or cold.
*If you are vegetarian and making this without the bacon, just substitute an additional tablespoon of olive oil.
**If you aren’t a big dairy fan, you can substitute 1 full cup mayonnaise and no Greek yogurt.