My Berlin Kitchen: Review and Recipe

My latest review for Bookshelf Bombshells, My Berlin Kitchen, is a delightful tale of how one thoroughly confused, kitchen-mad romantic broke off her engagement, quit her dream job, and went across the ocean in search of happiness. And food. Lots of food.

 Some of you may know author Luisa Weiss from her popular food blog The Wednesday Chef.  Inspired by other excellent food blogs and drowning in stacks of recipes she’d clipped from the Wednesday food section, Weiss set out to test the recipes, just for a year. That year flew by. She gained a dedicated readership following her mix of personal journal and cooking diary (and now reading her “love story with recipes”).

Now according to Luisa, there are two camps of potato salad eaters: mayo (rich and creamy) or hot vinegar (light and sour).  Being a Southern girl, I was raised with both feet firmly planted in the mayo camp. Potato salad should contain big old Idaho potatoes, hard boiled eggs, onions, MAYO, and MUSTARD (but NO relish, please). It should be firm, creamy, and yellow with sprinkles of salt, pepper, and maybe paprika on top.  My mom, despite growing up in Germany, is renowned for her Southern potato salad (based on one of my dad’s family recipes). I stand as firm as a scoop of that divine salad: mayo & mustard rule.

But I’m also totally open to new foods. I had to give it a try.

And I’m delighted I did. Though the hot vinegar mix made my house smell like a German restaurant (tip: open windows before boiling), the finished salad was crisp, vibrant, and not at all overpowering. Everyone in the house liked it. The tart/sour flavor mellowed  over time (it makes a good-sized batch, so we ate it over several days).

Though I don’t think it will replace my family recipe, it was a nice change and would be a hit at any party or potluck. Try it!

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Kartoffelsalat (Potato Salad)
from My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss

2 lbs. Yukon Gold or other waxy potatoes
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2/3 cup beef or chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley

  1. Wash the potatoes and put them in a pot with cold salted water just to cover. Bring to boil with the lid on; then reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes until they are just tender. Depending on their size, this should take between 20 and 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let them cool for at least an hour or two and up to overnight.
  2.  Peel the potatoes and cut them into very think slices, about 1/8-inch thick. Put the potato slices into a serving bowl.
  3. Melt the butter in a 10-inch saute pan and add the onions. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat. Pour in the vinegar and the broth. Add the mustard and stir well. Let the mixture simmer over low heat for an additional 3 minutes.
  4. Carefully y whisk in the oil, and then pour the hot marinade over the sliced potatoes and mix well. The potatoes will take a few minutes to absorb all the dressing. Add the salt and add as much freshly ground pepper as you’d like.
  5. Just before serving, add the minced parsley to the bowl and mix well. taste for seasoning and serve.

Variations:
If you’d like bits of bacon or Speck in your salad, dice up 3 1/2 ounces and fry the bacon or Speck in the butter for a few minutes before adding the chopped onions (reduce the amount of butter by a talbespoon0.

Or add 1/3 cup of diced French cornichons to the finished salad to bump up the sour, crunchy flavor.

****

I used red potatoes (I had 5 pounds just begging to be used up), red onions (ditto), and about 2 ounces of Speck. I also let the potatoes sit overnight (as Weiss recommended) and they were ridiculously easy to slice by hand. (I’ve sworn off mandolins because I have an overwhelming desire to keep all ten digits.)

Try it. You’ll like it.

And don’t forget to drop by Bookshelf Bombshells for the full book review.
 
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