Tue Apr 12, 2011
Don't you hate it when something gets in between you and your grill? I had that problem this past weekend weekend when my neighbor was having the mortar cut out between the bricks of his house. The work spewed a fine dust across the vast expanse of my deck, and even a quick stint out there left me feeling like I had returned from a long trek across the Sahara (they're extreme mask protection and my complete lack there-of left me a little unnerved). I had a few racks of ribs going down the stairs in the backyard, and my plan was to grill up a side worthy of the new recipes I was developing, but I found that impossible in the hostile environment created just outside my back door. So I took to the kitchen, which wasn't all bad, because out of it came a German potato salad!
This was the first time I've ever made German potato salad, although I've been slowly veering toward it as regular side whenever I'm dining at a barbecue joint. The firmness and definition of the potatoes in these salads led to my choice of a waxy, rather than starchy, potato. I picked up three pounds of white potatoes, hoping they'd provide just enough structure to hold up and avoid becoming a mash.
I can't lie, the reason I've been doing the German thing is bacon—this potato salad has a lot of it. A half pound of bacon was diced and crisped while the potatoes slowed simmered until they were just tender enough to be pierced with a pairing knife with no resistance.
The bacon goodness didn't stop with those strips, the rendered fat was used to soften and brown an onion. Bacon plus bacon fat onions, there's no doubt this was on the right path to be something good.
With the potatoes done, bacon crisped, and onions browned, it was time to contemplate dressing. The salads I've been enjoying have been a little salty, a little sweet, a little tangy, and a little tart, which led to a dressing of vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and a little squeeze of Dijon mustard to strike upon all of those notes.
It didn't take long, about 20 minutes total, to have all the ingredients ready to come together as one. The dressing, bacon, onions, and parsley were folded into the potatoes, which lightly crumbled, but mostly held up as I was hoping. Served warmed in the traditional German style, I dug right in and was pleased with what I had created. The flavors were all there, although I would have a preference to a smidgen more dressing, and it was a great eaten alongside the various types of ribs I had smoked up.
Despite my overall happiness with the salad, I still missed my grill. I have another ribfest on tap for next weekend, and I'll be damned if I let anything or anyone stand in my way of taking to the flames then!
German Potato Salad
3lbs wax potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon finely chopped, fresh parsley
1. Place potatoes in large pot and cover with cold water until water level is 1-inch above potatoes. Set over medium-high heat until boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer until a pairing knife can be inserted into potatoes with no resistance, about 20 minutes. Strain potatoes and set aside.
2. While potatoes are cooking, place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until browned and crisp. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate, leaving as much rendered fat in the pan as possible.
3. Add onions to pan with reserved bacon fat and cook over medium heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.
5. Place potatoes, bacon, onions, and parsley in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately while warm.