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German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

Bits of bacon and bacon fat are essential ingredients in a classic German potato salad. Look for bacon that has been smoked over apple wood, which gives it a sweet flavor. Purchase thick-sliced bacon for a more intense smoky taste. Many gourmet food stores and catalogs now feature artisanal bacon from farms where the pork is cured with flavors like maple, garlic, red pepper, and herbs and spices.

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt, to taste, plus 3/4 tsp.
  • 12 to 14 very small red potatoes, about 1 1/2 lb. total, scrubbed
  • 4 bacon slices, preferably thick sliced, coarsely chopped
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 large celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh marjoram, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup beef stock or canned beef broth

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes well and return them to the pot. Let cool for 10 minutes, then halve or quarter them.

In a large, heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until brown and crisp, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour the drippings from the pan into a small bowl.

Return 3 Tbs. of the drippings to the fry pan (if needed, add enough olive oil to make 3 Tbs.), set over medium heat, and add the onion and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar, minced marjoram, the 3/4 tsp. salt, the pepper and dry mustard. Add the stock, potatoes and bacon. Cook, tossing gently, until the dressing thickens and coats the potatoes, about 1 minute.

Transfer the potato salad to a serving bowl. Garnish with the marjoram sprigs and serve warm. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Potato, by Selma Brown Morrow (Simon & Schuster, 2002).