Especially in Germany's southern states summer temperatures are often in the nineties, and sometimes over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, so outdoor living, grill parties and the regions tradition warm weather specialties are a way of life.
Not quite the casual and spontaneous Australian way of Bung something on the Barbie, but a little more planned and prepared, and almost always with a choice of Potato Salads as part of the accompaniments.
As Germany's present 16 "Laender" make up a country that until 1871 was many separate and independent states with only a language in common, each region still has much of its own culture and cuisine, including favorite versions of "Kartoffel (potato) salat".
Here are two traditional recipes from southern Germany which, despite the two states being close neighbors, are very different and are favorites throughout the year:
Baden Wuerttemberg (The Black Forest Area) Kartoffelsalat (For 6)
2 medium onions, red skinned if possible
3 Tablespoons Oil
6 Tablespoons Wine Vinegar
1.1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon Vegetable or Chicken stock powder
4 Tablespoons Mustard (with seeds if possible)
3 cups cooked ham cut into matchsticks or diced, or thinly sliced sausage
6 medium sweet gherkins thinly sliced or finely diced
3 cups medium hard cheese cut into very small dice
Chives or Parsley
Wash potatoes, boil covered in salted water for 20 minutes, drain, skin, allow to cool
Skin onions, chop into small pieces. Fry lightly in hot oil. Add water and the vinegar, bring to the boil. Add stock powder, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar to taste. (The same quantity of canned or bottled vegetable/chicken bouillon is often used instead of water and the stock powder omitted)
Slice potatoes, add to warm marinade, mix and leave for at least one hour. Add ham or sausage, gherkin and cheese.
Leave, covered, for at least 4 hours.
Add more pepper and salt to taste, wash and dry chives or parsley, chop finely, sprinkle over the salad.
Next a traditional recipe from Baden Wuerttemberg's neighbor Bavaria.
Bavarian Kartoffel Salat (The land of mountains, lakes and castles) (For 4)
1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
1.1/2 cups heated vegetable or chicken stock
2 Tablespoon Red wine vinegar
8 Radishes thinly sliced
Cress or Chives
3 Tablespoons melted browned butter
Cook potatoes in salted water together with cumin seeds until cooked through.
Peel while still warm, slice thinly, place in bowl.
In separate bowl combine heated stock with salt, pepper, mustard, vinegar and a pinch of sugar.
Add some potato slices to the warm stock mixture, puree into a creamy sauce, and add to the rest of the warm potatoes.
Mix in sliced radishes and cress or chopped chives, pour warm melted browned butter over mixture and stir through.
Both varieties of salad taste best when served at room temperature and are ideal on their own as a snack, or as side dishes to all types of warm or cold meals. So whatever you choose:
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It is available in Kindle but I was given German Cooking: Five Generations Of Family Recipes as a paperback, and even reading it has been fascinating as well as bringing back so many memories, while the recipes I have tried so far have all been quick, easy and just great.
Potato salad, Photographer Oxfordian Kissuth, courtesy de.Wikipedia