Monday, December 15, 2014

Bavarian Potato Salad

Oh I'd been searching and searching for a good Bavarian Potato Salad. One that would remind us of the years we were stationed in Germany, and enjoyed all kinds of German delicacies.

This Bavarian Potato Salad is one to enjoy year 'round! It pairs perfectly with a variety of pork dishes, but is equally good served with Brats or hot dogs, and grilled or roasted chicken.

I finally found one we all really love and agree it's the most authentic we've been able to find. In fact, a very good friend of mine, Michele Wynn Gerhard, a renowned Chef who is unfortunately no longer with us, spoke lovingly about this recipe when I shared it with her.

"THANK YOU, Mary! In my opinion, this is THE German potato salad recipe!!! Seriously! I can definitely picture my German mother-in-law in her kitchen. I can definitely smell the Kartoffelsalat from here, and I can almost taste it! The picture looks almost identical to hers. I'm talking MEGA drool here! If I'm ever able to get in the kitchen and cook again, this will be the first thing I make! KEY - the right potato (never Russet "baking" potatoes!), right balance of vinegar & oil, using a good MILD vinegar, and please, please, please don't omit the chicken (or beef) broth, even if it sounds weird to you. YES, pour the vinegar over the warm potatoes, and yes, to just a small amount of sugar. It enhances the flavor somehow, but doesn't make the salad taste sweet. And, as "Mutti" says, NEVER serve hot or cold, always warm, by which I mean room temperature.

In all these years, I've never seen a recipe that came so close to describing exactly what Mama Mizzi did 1,000's of times, at least. Her kids, grandchildren, and daughter-in-laws learned to make it by watching her. Ditto for all her best dishes. I've never seen her consult a recipe, not even when baking. Oh yeah, the fresh herbs are important, too. She always had a great garden and used whatever was available to her there - always parsley & chives, dill if she had it. Yes, freshly ground black pepper, and she was just as fussy about her vinegar as she was about the type of potato she used. Thanks again, dear Mary... this is a treasure, for sure!" Love, Michele

5 pounds Yukon Gold or Red potatoes (not Russet)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tbls. dill weed
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. course-ground black pepper
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or less; add small amount at a time)

Cook bacon until crispy. Drain the bacon on a paper towel and save about 2 Tablespoons of the fat. Finely chop the cooked bacon and set aside. Next dice the onion.

Boil the potatoes, skin on, until fork tender (approx 20-30 minutes) in water. Drain and let sit in cold water to cool down enough to handle; gently rub off the peel.

Once all of the potatoes are peeled, cut each potato in half and then bite size pieces, or slices, however you prefer.

Pour the vinegar, salt and pepper on to the warm potatoes and wait for a few minutes, stirring once. Let the mixture absorb into the potatoes, which takes just a few minutes.

Add the bacon, onion, dill weed, the reserved bacon fat, and chicken stock.

Gently stir with a large wooden spoon being careful not to press the potatoes too much.

Add about 1/2-3/4 cups of the vegetable oil and combine (you may need more later).

Add 1 teaspoon of sugar, taste and adjust the salt, if necessary. Add a little more vinegar, if necessary so it has a mild tart taste.

The potato salad should have a nice shine to it, but not be too oily. Add a little oil at a time, until you see a very light sheen. Add the parsley last and stir to combine.

Serve at room temperature.

Adapted from A Feast for the Eyes



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