Updated: Sep 13
Hot or cold, however you serve it, you'll be looking for excuses to make this hearty side!
For the printable recipe click here.
A no-mayo potato salad
If you've read my Alabama White Sauce or Louisiana Remoulade post, you may recall I have been a slow convert when it comes to mayo. As those posts will attest, I've REALLY come a long way, but mayo-based dishes in which words like chicken, tuna, or potato precede the word salad are still a little bit tough for me to embrace. That's why I ADORE German potato salad--no mayo!
Instead of the creamy white stuff in traditional American potato salad, this potato salad features a tangy dressing composed primarily of red wine vinegar, grainy mustard, and crispy bacon (with the drippings!). A little olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper round things out.
Variations on German potato salad ingredients
I think the best German potato salad is a simple German potato salad, but there are a few tweaks you could make if you feel so inclined.
Potatoes: I prefer gold (yellow) potatoes in this recipe. They are creamy and delicious and don't need to be peeled. Red potatoes or other waxy potatoes would be the best substitute. However, If you really want to use russets, just peel them first.
Vinegar: I prefer red wine vinegar here, but apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, white balsamic, or even plain old white vinegar would work. You don't want a dark or overpowering vinegar dressing, so avoid dark balsamic vinegar.
Oil: The primary fat in this salad is the bacon drippings, but I add just a touch of olive oil. I use extra virgin, but regular olive oil or avocado oil would be good substitutions if desired.
Mustard: I like to use whole-grain mustard, such as Koops, but dijon mustard would be okay, too.
Additions: If you want to get a little creative, diced yellow onions could be sauteed with the bacon until super soft and incorporated with the rest of the dressing ingredients. If you like a fresh crunch, finely diced red onion could be sprinkled in at the end.
If you like things a little on the spicy side, a fun (if very nontraditional) addition would be chopped pickled jalapenos. You could even add chopped hard-boiled eggs!
Hot or cold?
With its hot dressing, this recipe can be served immediately for a warm German potato salad, but if the idea of a warm potato salad doesn't jive with you (or you'd rather make it ahead), this potato salad is also incredible cold or at room temperature. One benefit of making the potato salad ahead is that the tender potatoes will get more of a chance to soak up all the flavors of the delicious bacon vinaigrette the longer it sits.
However you serve it, German potato salad makes a perfect side dish for anything from pork chops to schnitzel to pretty much anything at a backyard BBQ. It is definitely a family favorite in our home, and I hope it will be in yours, as well!
Here's what you'll need:
2 ½ lbs gold potatoes, chopped into roughly ¾-inch pieces
4 strips bacon, uncooked, chopped
2 T grainy mustard
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T honey
1 T kosher salt
20 cranks black pepper
Fresh parsley, basil, tarragon, chives, or the tops of green onions, finely minced, for garnish, if desired
Here's what you'll do:
Place a steamer basket inside a large pot and fill with about an inch of water, or enough that it is just below the level of the basket. Place the chopped potatoes in the steamer, cover with a lid, set over medium-high heat, and steam till the potatoes are extremely tender when poked with a fork, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the chopped bacon in a skillet over medium heat, and cook till the bacon fat is all rendered and the pieces are very crispy but not burned, stirring occasionally, adjusting heat to med-low toward the end of cooking. Do not remove the bacon from the bacon grease.
Transfer the bacon and hot bacon drippings to a very large, heatproof bowl, and add the next 6 ingredients (mustard-black pepper). Whisk thoroughly to combine.
Add the hot potatoes to the bowl with the dressing, and use a spatula or large spoon to combine so that the potatoes are thoroughly coated in the dressing. The potatoes should get a tiny bit beat up in this process, but not so much that you end up with mashed potatoes. Serve immediately if desired, or allow to cool at room temperature before storing in an airtight container in the fridge. Garnish with finely chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, tarragon, or thyme before serving, if desired.
For the printable recipe click here.
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