Mountain German Potato Salad


From Butter Beans to Blackberries by Ronni Lundy

6 medium white potatoes
Boiling water
6 slices bacon
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Black pepper

1. Scrub the potatoes, cutting out any eyes and blemishes. Place them in a pot with boiling water to cover. Cook at a lively simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester pierces through the middle easily.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, begin the dressing. Fry the bacon crisp, being careful not to burn it or let the grease get hot enough to smoke. (I fry it in two batches, draining but reserving the grease after the first, to keep everything under control.) Set the bacon aside on paper towels; reserve the grease in the skillet.

3. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and plunge them in cold water. The peels should slide off easily; if not, use a knife to pull them away. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes, and lay them in a shallow pan—a roasting pan is what Mary’s mother uses.

4. Fry the onions in the reserved bacon grease, over medium-high heat, until they begin to soften.

5. While the onions are frying, combine the water and the flour in a small jar with a lid. Screw on the lid, and shake until they are completely blended. Set aside.

6. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, and celery seed. Turn the flame to low, add the vinegar mixture to the softened onions, and stir. Add the flour water, and simmer until the mixture thickens, which happens quite rapidly. Pour the hot dressing over the warm potato cubes. Add several grinds of pepper, and crumble the bacon on top. Toss everything lightly with a spatula to coat the potatoes well, but don’t overmix; it will make the potatoes mushy. (The salad is still tasty if the potatoes get mushy, but not as attractive.)

7. Allow the salad to cool to room temperature, then cover it securely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

8. When you are ready to serve, reheat the salad over boiling water. If you don’t have a double boiler large enough to accommodate it, rig one up by setting a good-sized saucepan into a larger one with water in the bottom. Stir the potatoes lightly a few times so they are heated thoroughly. Serve warm.

Serves 8.