Bacon Gorgonzola Potato Salad

Pears and Gorgonzola cheese are a classic pairing. Why do pears and gorgonzola work so well together? The slightly sweet, slightly tart flavor of the pear compliments the rich, savory flavor of the cheese. Usually you will find these two happily co-habitating in a green salad, but I’ve also seen them in a multitude of other recipes such as pizza, flatbread, crostini, gnocchi, and risotto recipes. Something I haven’t seen is a pear and gorgonzola potato salad recipe and I thought, why not give it a try for the next recipe in our Summer Side Dish series?

Despite much skepticism from office co-workers, this potato salad turned out delicious! It’s made with low-fat Greek yogurt to create a dressing that is thick and creamy, but healthier than a heavy mayonnaise-based dressing. Fresh herbs bring out the flavor of the caramelized pears and the gorgonzola cheese. And the addition of bacon adds layers of savory flavor, texture, and smoky saltiness.

It’s best to make this ahead of time and let the flavors meld in the refrigerator overnight. I also noticed that it mellowed out the strong flavor of the gorgonzola. Your favorite combo of fresh herbs can be added/substituted for the thyme.

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Bacon Gorgonzola Potato Salad:

10-12 medium red potatoes
3 hard-boiled eggs, yokes only
1 pound bacon, chopped (I used Maplewood smoked bacon)
3 small pears, cored and finely chopped
1/4 cup mayo
1 1/2 cups low fat or fat free plain greek yogurt
1/2 – 3/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese
2 tsp white wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
3 tsp onion powder/salt
1 1/2 tsp thyme (may sub other herbs)
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste

1. Cook Potatoes: Scrub and cut your red potatoes into medium size chunks. Put in a large pot and fill with cold water, and a pinch of salt. Boil potatoes until tender, but not too soft. Drain, but don’t rinse. When you potatoes are done, pour them into a wide baking dish lined with paper towels to absorb the excess water.

2. Boil Eggs: Put the eggs in a pan filled with water, then turn the heat on. Once the water starts to boil, turn the burner off, leaving the pan on the hot burner. Cover and let sit for 12 minutes. Sprinkling a little baking soda and salt in the boiling water will help the eggs crack less and peel easier.

3. Cook Bacon: Chop your bacon into small-medium pieces then cook them in a large frying pan until desired crispiness. Transfer bacon onto paper towel-lined dish to drain. Leave the hot bacon grease in the pan.

5. Cook Pears: Wash and chop your pears into small chunks (be sure your chunks are smaller than your potatoes). Sauté your chopped pears in the hot bacon grease until they start to get soft. Set aside to drain on paper towels.

6. Mix Creamy Base: Peel the eggs and cut in half. Pop out the yolks, and toss them into a large mixing bowl with the gorgonzola, mayo, greek yogurt, vinegar, sugar, onion powder, fresh thyme/herbs, salt and pepper. Mix together until creamy. I personally do not like egg chunks in my potato salad so I did not put the whites into the salad, but if you want to include them, cut the rest of the egg whites into bite-size pieces, then set aside.

7. Add Chunks: Once the potatoes are cool, pour them into the creamy egg mixture along with the bacon and pear (add the egg whites if you are using them). Fold softly until combined. If you want, reserve a small amount of bacon bits to sprinkle over the top when serving. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Be sure to keep your potato salad cool so that it stays fresh.

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