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What’s the Difference Between American and German Potato Salad?
The American potato salad you’ll see at your next BBQ features a mayonnaise based dressing and may include onions, herbs, or hard boiled eggs. German potato salad, meanwhile, features a lighter dressing with vinegar and mustard as its base. Many German potato salad recipes also include bacon. Unlike American potato salad, the German variety can also be served warm.
Chef Thomas Keller’s Recipe for German Potato Salad
Prep Time15 min
Total Time30 min
Cook Time15 min
For the Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette
- 225 grams white wine vinegar
- 50 grams Dijon mustard
- 50 grams whole grain mustard
- 10 grams kosher salt
- 550 grams canola oil
- Mixing bowl
German Potato Salad Recipe
- 600 grams Red Bliss potatoes
- 1000 grams Yukon Gold potatoes
- 400 grams whole grain mustard vinaigrette (see recipe above)
- 200 grams cucumbers
- 100 grams shallots
- 30 grams fresh parsley, minced
- 60 grams crispy cooked bacon, chopped
- 1 bunch watercress
- Kosher salt
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Mixing bowls
- Rubber spatula
- Large sauce pot
- Spider or skimmer
- Make the mustard vinaigrette. Combine the vinegar, dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, and kosher salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk well until all ingredients are combined. Slowly drizzle in the canola oil while whisking vigorously. Continue whisking until well emulsified. Store refrigerated in an airtight container until needed.
- Slice the vegetables. Slice shallots on mandolin or with a chef’s knife to ⅛ inch thick. Combine sliced shallots with the whole grain mustard vinaigrette in a large bowl. Slice red potatoes and Yukon Gold Creamers on a mandolin into 3/16 inch pieces.
- Cook the potatoes. Rinse the potatoes well and drain. Place the sliced potatoes into a large pot and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Set the potatoes over medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer lightly until potatoes are just tender, but not falling apart.
- Add potatoes to vinaigrette. Transfer the potatoes using a spider, skimmer, or slotted spoon to the mixing bowl and fold in the vinaigrette and shallots until evenly distributed. Take care not to break the potatoes. Transfer the dressed potatoes to a container and cover. Cool in the refrigerator.
- Prepare the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers ⅛ inch thick and transfer to a small bowl. Add 1% kosher salt, based on the weight of the sliced cucumbers and let sit for 10 minutes. Pat the cucumbers dry with paper towels (they will release liquid) and store refrigerated in an airtight container.
- Finish potato salad. Let the dressed potatoes come to room temperature before serving. Fold in the salted cucumbers and minced fresh parsley, taking care not to break up the potatoes. Garnish with chopped crispy bacon and watercress sprigs.
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