Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad
Side Dish Runner Up
- No Bull Country Club | Fargo, N.D.
- Twin Cities Division
Potato salad is deeply entrenched and dearly beloved in the canon of classic American dishes. The spud is a welcome platform for all manner of add-ins. Bacon, onions, celery and hard-cooked eggs are stalwart companions, perfect complements to the potatoes’ earthy appeal.
“People have set ideas about potato salad,” says Adrian Baldwin, corporate chef for JL Beers of America, parent company of Fargo, N.D.’s No Bull Country Club, a fast-casual concept. When he set about creating the recipe for Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad, he strived to find balance between tradition and contemporary flair.
First to be swapped out were the potatoes. Instead of red or white potatoes, he reached for sweet potatoes, confident that their inherent sweetness would be an asset. Then he spiced it up with bacon and a smoky shot of chipotle peppers. “Beyond that, it’s pretty familiar in terms of ingredients but it ends up quite different. Guests can try something new without going too far outside their normal selections.”
The No Bull name is a double entendre of sorts, signaling its friendly, straightforward nature and also slyly referencing the all-chicken, no bull or beef menu. Fresh chicken reigns supreme, showing up as fingers that are marinated then hand-breaded before frying. It also is showcased in salads and sandwiches, with the grill lending a deliciously smoky char to the meat.
The menu at No Bull is concise and tightly focused. A few items fall outside the main theme, popcorn shrimp and cheese curds among them. But Baldwin acknowledges that the restaurant is known for chicken. “And that’s not a bad thing,” he says. “Customers love it.”
Baldwin, who attended culinary school in Minneapolis and then began working in fine-dining establishments, created all the recipes for No Bull, working with the corporate team to nail fare that is broadly appealing, accessible and most of all, memorably delicious. “I’m not a canned-food kind of guy. It makes a difference when you cook from scratch,” he says.
Since his teens, when he became fascinated with food and the restaurant industry, Baldwin has nurtured and cultivated the interest, cutting his teeth in pizza parlors and fast-food restaurants. In joining JL Beers, Baldwin says that the variety keeps him on his toes. “Any new business, they come to me,” he notes, adding that menu design and development, kitchen layout and food ordering all fall within his purview.