Thursday, July 10, 2014

Family Secrets

We've all got them, right?  Some treasured family secret recipe somewhere.  I gave you one of mine in my first post on kohlrabi.  I'll give you another one now:  my mom's German potato salad, with a couple of my own tweaks.  Potatoes are another almost-every-week kind of staple, and we're in the midst of cucumber season, too.  So, without further ado:


  • 1 1/2 lbs. assorted potatoes, either peeled or unpeeled, sliced into bite-sized 1/4" disks
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced 1/8" thick
  • 2 scallions, sliced 1/8" thick
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup white vinegar, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, to taste
  • Salt & pepper
  • Kettle of boiling water
Yes, you need to slice a number of ingredients thinly.  Yes, the mandoline will make that fast and easy.  No, you may not use it without the safety glove.


  • Boil potatoes in salted water until tender but not soft.  Since you're cooking the potatoes after they're sliced, they will cook quickly.
  • Crisp the bacon, reserving fat.  You should have about 1/4 cup.  Remove bacon to a paper towel and make gravy from the bacon drippings.  Add half the flour to the bacon fat with salt and pepper, whisk.  Gradually add remaining flour to create a roux, and allow to darken a little.  Add sugar and 1/4 cup vinegar to roux, then gradually add boiling water, stirring, to create a medium-thickness gravy.  Adjust vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

  • Toss together potatoes, scallions, cucumber, and crisped bacon.  Pour over half the gravy, toss.  Add more gravy and toss again until you get the desired consistency.

  • Ta da!  Serve either cooled or warm.  And yes, it'll be better tomorrow.

Potato salad is the sort of dish where nearly every family has their own favorite.  I asked around Nall's and Vanessa had a really good one, too:
I used about 6-8 red potatoes, cut in small cubes, tossed in olive oil and red wine vinegar then lined then up in a deep cookie sheet and bake for 50-60 mins at 400. While potatoes are baking, take about 4 ears of corn and cut off cob. Chop up 2-3 spring onions and toss with corn. When you take out the potatoes, sprinkle with sea salt and toss with mayo to your liking while the potatoes are hot and add in the spring onions and corn. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving. You can also add bacon!
 I've got a couple of other potato salad recipes that I really like as well.  This one is sort of an Alsatian take on my German potato salad, using pancetta and brown butter.  It's my go-to pot luck dish.  This one is similar and on my list to try.  Here's a creamy, lemony one that's very good too.

Do you mind sharing your "secret" potato salad recipe?

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