Tuesday, July 5, 2011

German in the summer - Oma's Potato Salad, Cucumber Salad, and SAUSAGE !! (Karl's)

In my post about macaroni salad , I mentioned that my experiences with picnic summer staples (macaroni and potato salads) were somewhat out of the norm. Here, at last, is the potato salad. Well, almost here...I have to tell you about the sausages first !

Stepping into Karl's Sausage Kitchen is kind of like stepping into my Oma's kitchen - well, Oma's kitchen combined with the smell of every kind of sausage you can imagine, and a few you've probably never thought of. They stock all sorts of German and European groceries (the chocolates alone are worth the trip), the selection of cold cuts and cheeses is astounding, and they make the most amazing, amazing sausages right on the premises. So many of my favorite tastes of childhood are there -Weisswurst, Thüringer Rostbratwurst, Nürnberger Rostbratwurst, Mettwurst...and those are just a very few of the tons of German ones; they branch out into other cultures too. Kielbasa, Andouille, Chorizo, Italian... anyway, if you ever find yourself anywhere near Saugus on Route 1, go - it is so worth the trip ! And, since I did just that this past weekend...

Top to bottom : Italian Sausage, Thuringer Rostbratwurst, Nürnberger Rostbratwurst
Since we were mostly doing German sausage, we went with German side dishes...which brings us back to Oma's Potato Salad. Traditional German potato salad has a dressing made of vinegar and bacon fat, seasoned with a bit of sugar along with salt, pepper, and other herbs. It also usually has the bacon crumbled back in, though truth be told I don't remember the actual pieces of bacon in Oma's...she probably just used bacon fat she had saved, though I suppose the grownups might have hogged all the actual bacon :). Typically it is served at room temperature or slightly warm, which may not sound summery but is actually perfect for picnics and cookouts - you don't have to worry about the mayonnaise spoiling.

The third German dish in our trifecta here is the Cucumber Salad. This is another dish I grew up eating all the time, and I was pleased to discover as an adult that it was ridiculously easy to make. This same dressing works well on leftover cooked green beans, though you can't really use buttered ones - very unappetizing when cold. Whatever you use, marinate it all day if you can...but not for days on end; you're going for salad, not pickles.

As they say in Germany...Guten Essen !!

Oma's Potato Salad
4 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 T water
2 T sugar
1 t salt
1/4 c vinegar
2 t fresh thyme leaves, stripped off stems
salt & pepper to taste
4 c cooked potatoes - I use baby white potatoes, boiled whole in skins & sliced
1T chopped fresh parsley

Fry up bacon in a large skillet. Remove and cook onion in bacon fat until transparent. Add rest of ingredients except potatoes and parsley. Heat to boiling, turn off, add potatoes and parsley. Stir gently to coat potatoes.

Cucumber Salad

2 cucumbers, sliced
1/2 c white vinegar
1/2 c water
1/2 t white pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 t salt
1 t dried dill
Fresh dill or parsley, for serving. Combine vinegar, water, pepper, salt, and dried dill. Pour over cucumbers in bowl or Ziploc bag. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours is possible, and sprinkle fresh herbs over right before serving.


  1. hi karen I met you at Jenna and pauls wedding , Kitty : this is my first time on a blog and I love yours I can't wait to try some of them. I was looking for your chipotle chocolate tart w/ ganache is it posted??

  2. hi Kitty !! No I haven't had a chance to blog it yet, will definitely be doing soon !!