Potato Salad Lite - My Way!
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007
When I first moved to Germany, I thought that the potato salad was a staple side for the Germans. Any restaurant, cafe, food stall or fast food place, regardless if they were 3 or 5 star places, all served the kartoffelsalat. Almost all of them had one thing in common they were made with thick, heavy mayonnaise! It's served with all kinds of things here - the bratwurst, meat patties, fried fish pan fried pork steaks and grilled meat to name a few. There are also a few variations to this basic dish, but I never really fancied the thought of all that mayo clotting my arteries!!
I am not a huge fan of mayonnaise. Never was, even the type I make at home once every two years. I cannot even remember when I last ate mayo to be honest. So, imagine my distress when I first moved here I would get served potato salad everywhere I went. "Try some traditional potato salad!" I was told. SPLAT! A huge ladle was spooned onto my plate before I could even say a word. There were many occasions when this type of potato salad seemed to be wicked and followed me. Any party or barbecues I was sure to bump into the the ole spud covered in a thick white coating. Pot lucks were the worst, then I was sure to find two or three different varieties!
Then one day I decided to retaliate. I decided to make my own version of the potato salad. My goal: not to use any mayonnaise! I think I did well the first time, but I needed more then just potatoes. So I started to experiment with a variety of different vegetables and substitutes for the mayo ... and I really did come up with a fantastic tasting potato salad.
The key for a good potato salad is finding the perfect potato. Potatoes that have a high moisture content and are waxy, like the red potato or the Yukon Gold, are perfect for salads. The next step is boiling them - the potatoes need to be cooked to the perfect point and then it is important to get them right out of the hot water. Potatoes can be boiled whole or cut into smaller pieces. The boiling time is reduced the smaller the pieces. I prefer boiling them whole with the skin left on. Furthermore, add salt to the water before the potatoes are placed into water. When the potatoes are tender enough to bite through, but before they turn mushy, it is time to remove them from the water. Drying the potatoes is very important as they are not supposed to cook any further and also need to soak in the dressings, oils and seasonings. This is done best when they are dry. Potatoes also soak up flavors the best while they are hot. However, care needs to be taken while adding anything that can be spoiled by heat. While the potatoes are hot it is best to season them with a light mixture of oil with whatever herbs and spices being used. Once the salad has cooled it can be completed with other ingredients.
As I think I have a perfect, not so heavy and ever so yummy salad here I'll be joining Lisa and Kelly and anyone else at their Salad Stravaganza!
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500 g red potatoes - washed and left unpeeled
2 eggs - hard boiled
100 g frozen or fresh peas - blanched in salt water for 3 minutes
100 g carrots - coarsely diced
1 red or orange bell pepper - diced
2 large pickled gherkins - sliced
2 tablespoons of the gherkin vinegar - from the jar the gherkins were in
1 red onion - finely chopped
100 g yogurt
75 g Quark or substitute with low-fat sour cream
Handful of chives
Salt and pepper
Cook potatoes with their peels on, depending on their size for approx. 15 to 20 minutes. Take out of water when done and dry well. Peel the potatoes and slice in thickish slices.
Place all of the ingredients, except for the potatoes, in a large bowl and mix well until incorporated and all the vegetables are coated in the dressing. Salt and pepper generously. Add the potatoes while still warm and gently toss, making certain the potato slices do not break up. Allow the potatoes to absorb the dressing for 10 to 15 minutes, then sprinkle with chives and serve.
My issue with the mayo ladened potato salads resolved itself as soon as I started serving this salad to my friends. It knocked their socks off and ever since then they too have been making their potato salads similar to my version. My dad always did say I was very diplomatic LOL! I really like this style of potato salad. It's not heavy and with the addition of fresh vegetables it is not only colorful to the eye but also healthier. The yogurt gives it a wonderful smooth flavor and the quark lends the salad dressing it's thickness making the salad more refreshing. Perfect for barbecues and picnics.
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