We are bang in the middle of the Oktoberfest season, and while no Oktoberfest is being held in 2020, that doesn’t mean we can’t have our favourite Bavarian foods at home! If you’ve been following along you will have learnt how to cook the perfect Oktoberfest Roast Chicken, and today we are cooking one of the real staples of Bavarian cuisine, ‘Kartoffelsalat’ or Bavarian Potato Salad.
If you have ever travelled to this part of the world you are guaranteed to have eaten Bavarian Potato Salad as it is served with nearly every meal. Being married to a Bavarian, this is one of the first German dishes that I learnt to cook, as it is such an important part of the local culinary culture.
Potatoes are to Germany what pasta is to Italians: serious business. There are over 210 varieties of potato grown regularly in Germany, each with a legion of fans. The potato stall at Munich’s legendary outdoor market, the Viktualienmarkt, very nearly has cult-status as people from all over Munich visit to seek out the best and most flavoursome potatoes.
It is commonly written in recipes for German-style potato salads that the potatoes must be cooked in their skins and then peeled while hot before being dressed. After years of playing hot-potato and burning my fingers, I decided to put this old wives’ tale to the test, and I am happy to announce that not only is this step completely unnecessary, the potato salad is better if you peel the potatoes before cooking them. Hooray!
Kartoffelsalat is often served very plain as a simple side, but I like to dress it up with a little bit of crunch cucumber and radish. If you like you can co the whole hog and throw in some fried up bacon as well, after all, in Bavarian cooking nearly everything is improved by adding a little bit of speck.
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Bavarian Potato Salad 'Kartoffelsalat'
At nearly every Bavarian table you will find a big bowl of ‘Kartoffelsalat’ or Bavarian Potato Salad. This beloved side dish is dressed with a hot vinaigrette which means the potatoes to soak up all the delicious dressing. Serve with any Bavarian meal like schnitzel, or Oktoberfest Roast Chicken.
- 1kg potatoes (see notes)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 50ml vegetable oil
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 75ml vinegar
- 2 Tbsp mustard
- salt and pepper
- small bunch radishes, sliced
- half a small cucumber, sliced
- bacon, finely diced and fried
- parsley, chives, etc
- Peel and halve the potatoes, then put them in a pot and cover with cold water. Add the salt, then bring the water to the boil over high heat. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the onion and the cold vegetable oil in a small frying pan. Cook gently over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the onion has softened, but not browned. Whisk together the vegetable stock, vinegar and mustard, then add to the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer then remove from the heat and keep warm.
- When the potatoes have cooked, drain and allow to dry with the lid on the pan for 2-3 minutes. It’s important now to prepare your working area so that you can get the potatoes cut and into the dressing while everything remains as hot as possible.
- Place a large bowl next to a chopping board. Using a fork, tongs or wearing a washing-up glove as I do, take the potatoes one by one out of the pot, cut roughly, then scrape into the bowl, pouring over a little of the hot dressing every few potatoes. Repeat until all the potatoes and dressing have been used up.
- Season well with black pepper then set aside, uncovered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Before serving, season to taste and stir through any of the optional add-ins, if using.
In Germany, potatoes are graded into three main types: ‘Festkochend’ or waxy potatoes, Vorwiegend-Festkochend, primarily waxy potatoes and Mehlig-kochend, or floury potatoes. I tend to use Vorwiegend-Festkochend potatoes as they have a nice texture but there are advocates of all types of potatoes for this salad. Some varieties of Vorwiegend-Festkochend potatoes are Yukon Gold, Cascade, Laura and Christa - though there are well over 40 different varieties! Red skinned potatoes often fit into this group.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 404Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 1088mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 10g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What sort of potatoes should I use to make Bavarian Potato Salad?
In Germany, potatoes are graded into three main types: ‘Festkochend’ or waxy potatoes, Vorwiegend-Festkochend, primarily waxy potatoes and Mehlig-kochend, or floury potatoes. I tend to use Vorwiegend-Festkochend potatoes as they have a nice texture but there are advocates of all types of potatoes for this salad. Some varieties of Vorwiegend-Festkochend potatoes are Yukon Gold, Cascade, Laura and Christa – though there are well over 40 different varieties! Red skinned potatoes often fit into this group.
Can I make this potato salad in advance?
Certainly! I prefer it on the second day. Take it out of the fridge for an hour or so before you want to eat it so it isn’t ice cold.
What should I serve with Bavarian Potato Salad?
Roast chicken is the obvious choice, but sausages or pork chops are popular too. If you load it up with other crunch veg it is even good by itself!