…and a visit to German Village
I raved so much about Gary’s rendition of the German Potato Salad to Alison that now she wants us to make it with our latest crop of potatoes. Therefore you *HAVE* to do an EatsForOne feature on the recipe, especially if you can track down Martha’s version (Gary might be able to help you there, a good excuse to give them a call).
And so the quest began. I called Amy and Gary.
When Amy answered, I said, “Eric’s on me to write something about “Mom’s” German Potato Salad you guy’s brought to the Pigroast. Can you give me the recipe?”
Amy said, “Gary made it, I just helped and coached.”
“Is Gary there?” I said.
“He’s outside, under his truck,” said Amy. “I’ll call him.”
Gary said, “Gosh, I just started cooking… Amy peeled the potatoes and I sliced them… we were just cooking together…
“I don’t remember the proportions… I know we started with a lot of bacon… 1 1/2 pounds, and a lot of onions… saute the onions until they’re good and caramelized… deglaze the pan with a bit of water, then start adding vinegar and sugar until it tastes like the German Potato Salad in German Village. I’ve never seen the recipe written down. Maybe next time, I can make some notes.”
After thinking about it, I fired off an email with a couple more questions, to which Gary quickly replied:
Mustard? No mustard, but that could be a worthy secret ingredient.
What kind of potatoes? The potato was a russet brown skin and Amy states that we once used some red skin potatoes. Peeled, sliced on a mandolin. and parboiled.
I tried to conjure up what I remember about Mom’s German Potato Salad — I’m sure my recollections were heavily influenced by what I had just eaten at the Pigroast.
Potatoes were sliced, not cubed
Potatoes were firm, not mushy
No other vegetables or eggs.
Sweet and sour taste.
I looked for German Potato Salad recipes on the internet. Surprisingly, none were very close to the picture in my mind. One, from House & Garden, February 1957, on Epicurious, by Eloise Davison was just potatoes, bacon and sauce, but she used cubed potatoes, and only four teaspoons chopped onion, coupled with flour to make a roux with the bacon fat.
The best clues came from Recipes from a German Grandma
What makes a good German Potato Salad?
Any potato works well but it is good to understand the qualities of each potato to their advantage in your salad. ?Many Germans like the firm red skin potato but the russet works well as also.
The typical dressing is a very simple vinaigrette that is equal parts water, vinegar and sugar.
Trouble is, the pictures showed a mooshy mass of potatoes, so I didn’t read that recipe carefully before I started writing my own and cooking. (Looking back, its pretty close to what I did.) Continue reading