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.
The Silesians (both prewar and today) prefer their potato salads loaded to the brim with ingredients. This recipe features a mayonnaise dressing, carrots, apples, eggs, pickles, onions, and peas. Calling it a potato salad stretches the imagination somewhat.
Silesian Potato Salad
- 750 g Potatoes, of the kind which remain firm after boiling.
- 200 g Celery
- 1 Large Parsley Root (~150g)
- 4 Carrots
- 2 Apples
- 2 Hard Boiled Eggs
- 5 Dill Pickles (Not the spiced kind)
- 2 Medium Onions
- 250 Peas, pre-cooked, frozen, or from the can
- 250-300 g Mayonnaise
- 3-4 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes in salted water until pierced easily with a fork. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
- Optionally peel the potatoes, but then chop them into small cubes. All of the remaining vegetables, the eggs, and the pickles should be cut into cubes of roughly similar size.
- Mix the mayonnaise with the vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Mix the potatoes and all of the other ingredients together, then mix in the mayonnaise sauce. Let set and rest for 12 hours.