German potato salad is served warm and not cold, and includes crispy bacon and vinegar. It’s an easy and authentic recipe that originates from southern Germany.
Last weekend I met with my book club group to discuss Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck, whose main character is a house outside Berlin and the many inhabitants that occupy it over a hundred years. One of my friends (who grew up in Germany) hosted the book club and cooked a German-themed dinner. Our get-togethers are usually potluck-style, so I decided to make a German potato salad to bring to the event. There’s two kinds — the northern German potato salad has mayo and is served cold (like the American potato salad) and the southern German version is served warm or hot and includes vinegar for a tangy taste. The one that I made is the traditional southern German variety, and it is so good and addictive that I can’t wait to make it again.
This German potato salad recipe has no egg or mayo — instead, it’s all about potatoes, bacon, and onion getting acquainted with each other in bacon grease on a hot stovetop pan. The addition of vinegar, salt, pepper, and a tad bit of sugar completes the picture. Simple, easy to make, and absolutely delicious. This was one of those meals where I had Mr. Savory Tooth buzzing around me while I cooked and photographed the dish, as he tried to grab a forkful every now and then. He looked aghast when I told him it was for my book club.
I recommend using waxy potatoes and not starchy potatoes so that the potato chunks keep their shape after cooking. Waxy potatoes are firmer and hold up better after cooking, and include varieties like Yukon Gold (used here) and red potatoes. Starchy potatoes are appropriately named and so have a lot of starch. This includes the familiar Russet and classic Idaho potatoes, which should be avoided here.