Potato salad is a German creation from sometime in the 17th century, shortly after potatoes were introduced to mass agriculture. The first recognizable recipes for potato salad emerge only in the 19th century, with the codification of national cuisines. As Germany was not a unified nation-state until 1871, potato salad retains a highly regional character. You can divide Germany into roughly four parts depending on which ingredients are used. Southern Germany and the Rhineland use vinaigrette sauces, whereas North Germany uses mayonnaise-based ones. Western Germany favors simple salads, limited to potatoes and a few optional ingredients such as pickles or onion. In contrast, Eastern Germany prefers salads rich with other elements such as eggs, carrots, radishes, and other vegetables.
This recipe comes from the Lower Rhine Valley and has the characteristics of typical Northwest German Potato Salads, that is, a Mayonaise Base, but without other vegetables or pickles. It’s made more interesting by the use of apple vinegar in the dressing.
Rhenish Potato Salad
- 1 kg Potatoes of the kind which remain firm after boiling
- 50 ml Vegetable Broth
- 2 Medium Onions
- ½ Cup Chopped Parsley
- 2 Egg Whites
- 2 tbsp Mild Apple-Cider Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Mild Mustard
- 100 ml Olive Oil
- 150 ml Sour Milk or 3.5% Yogurt
- Boil the potatoes with the skin until they are almost completely soft, c. 20 minutes. Drain the water and let the potatoes remain in the pot covered until cool enough to handle.
- Chop the potatoes into bite-sized chunks, then move to a bowl and cover with the warm vegetable broth.
- To prepare the mayonnaise dressing, use a whisk or small immersion blender to whip the egg whites, vinegar, and mustard while slowly adding the oil. When all of the oil has been added, and the mayonnaise has reached the desired level of consistency, add in the soured milk or yogurt. Then season to salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the mayonnaise dressing over the potatoes, mix well with the parsley, and let sit for an hour before serving.