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Hot Potato!

One of my favorite things growing up was my mom's German potato salad. It's served hot with a thick, sweet and sour dressing, and bears no resemblance whatsoever to a typical American potato salad. (I have to keep explaining that to the people who immediately say, "I don't like potato salad.")

Now, my mother's parents were immigrants from Austria, so I grew up assuming this was some old family recipe. When I was living away from home and asked her for it, much to my surprise she pulled out a newspaper clipping. I have no idea from where she got it, but if she was cooking it when I was a kid, it must have been published fifty years ago or more. I hand-copied it, then later typed it up and pasted it into my recipe notebook (a little three-ring binder which I've been using for the last forty years or so).

This is one recipe I don't tweak, I like it so much just as it is. I was going to post it just as I got it, but decided the rather terse instructions could use a rewrite.

Hot German Potato Salad
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 slices of bacon (or more*)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice **
  • 4 cups sliced, cooked potatoes, skins on (4 large potatoes or 6 or more small ones)
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion (one small or half a large)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, less if dried
  • 1 tsp celery seed

*That's what it says in the original. Need I say, I always go for "more."

**If you're squeezing fresh lemons, you'll probably need two. If you come up a little short, just make up the difference with white wine vinegar.

Hard-boil two of the three eggs. Set aside to cool.

Scrub the potatoes, but do not peel or slice. Put whole potatoes in a pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Let cook for about 30 minutes, or until just barely tender. (Poke with a fork or a slim, sharp knife. It should go in easily.) Do not overcook, or they will fall apart. Drain, set aside until cool enough to handle, then slice, about 1/4 inch thick. If potatoes are very large, halve or quarter lengthwise before slicing.

In a large frying pan or wide dutch oven, fry the bacon until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper toweling.

Measure out 1/4 cup of the bacon drippings, then discard the rest. Add the quarter cup of fat back into the pan. Add the flour, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan and mix into the bacon fat. Stir over low heat until pasty.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the remaining raw egg with the water, vinegar and lemon juice. Add gradually to the flour mixture and stir until thickened.

Add the sliced onions, stir and cook for just a couple of minutes.

Crumble the bacon and add to the pan, along with the potatoes, parsley and celery seed. Toss gently over low heat until well covered with the sauce and warmed through.

Garnish with sliced hard-boiled eggs, Serve warm.