Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Better Potato Salad - Sauerkraut Style

Sauerkraut Potato Salad

The first potatoes of the season arrived in my CSA, and they looked so GOOD!  And it was hot.  And a cold potato dish sounded like a great idea.  But not so, what's the word I want, Nasty.  And while futzing around with my veggies, trying to tetris them all into the fridge, I started (suffered from?) an imaginary conversation with my potatoes.

Me:  Hey!  Potato salad. Yeah, you there. The one in the bright yellow mayonnaise. Come here. Talk to me. What's up?  Potatoes have the ability to be fluffy and creamy, addictive when fried and salted, yet this... This is a disgrace. 

Potato: Look. This is a mistake. We're suffering from a hangover from the 1940's. 

Me: Wow. That must have been one heck of a bash. 

P: Well, uh, see there were some big changes in the 40's.  There was a massive shift from an agricultural economy to an industrial one, and, well "salad" turned out to be a casualty. 
It went from a delightful cold dish, often handy because you could make it ahead, to any old mixture of stuff glued together with mayonnaise. 

Me: Huh?

P: Well, look at tuna salad, chicken salad, Waldorf salad, pasta salad, egg salad, (cough ukh), ham salad...

Me: I believe I'm starting to get the picture.  It's not the material, it's the easily available mayo.

P: Hellman's has much to answer for. 

Me: Kraft?

P: I don't want to talk about it. 

Me:  So potatoes like to be dressed...

P:  But not drowned. We like some decoration, but no potato wants to feel like it's doing the mud-spa thing, where we have to be unearthed. 

Me: So no more mayo?

P: Mayo isn't even the problem. It's more like people use mayo like they bought it on sale.  I wish they'd use it like they had to hand whip it from eggs they gathered themselves. OK, thats a little precious of me. Sparingly. That's what I really want. Potatoes dig the creamy-salty-savory, we just ask to be heard, not covered up, glorping for a little air. 

Me: How do you feel about sour?

P: Love the sour. Being a Chip in a duo with Fried fish is especially awesome, 'cuz sometimes we get to dip in a particularly skillful Tartar Sauce, maybe get splash with a little malt vinegar. 

Me: Well, I have this jar of sauerkraut. 

P: what kind?  Vinegar?

Me: Nothin' doing. Well drained, small batch, fermented crunchy stuff. A local kid made good!

P:  You do know sauerkraut and I had kind of a history.  

Me:  Let's see if I can do the tradition justice. 

Sauerkraut Potato Salad 
with pan fried chicken apple sausage slices. 

This made a hearty dinner for 2, multiply for more diners. 

4 fist sized potatoes (or equivalent.)
handful of dill
1/2 C plain yogurt (thicker is better)
1/4 of a purple onion
1/2 C sauerkraut
salt and pepper to taste
2 chicken apple sausages

butting board
large pot
salad bowl
slotted spoon (colander optional)
scrubby brush
measuring cups
sauté pan
spatula (or tongs)

Put the pot on to boil
Scrub the potatoes and cut them into large bite-size pieces. About 12ths or so.
When the pot comes to a boil, add a large pinch of salt and the potatoes.  Set the timer for 10 minutes (yes, that'll be too soon, but will give you a feel for how much longer.)

While the potatoes are boiling, finely chop the dill, and the onion into small pieces.  Place them into the salad bowl and stir these into the sauerkraut.  Add the yogurt a spoonful at a time until you like the way it all blends together. Add salt until all the flavors pop out. (But not enough to make it taste salty.)
Slice the sausages into 4 or 5 diagonal pieces.

That potato timer goes off. Pull out a piece and check it. If it is close, check again in 2 min.  Still rock hard, try again in 5. 
When your potatoes are cooked but still firm (not crunchy, but not mushy), get them out of the water.
Add the hot potatoes to the dressing.
Let them soak while you pan fry the sausages until they have crispy edges.

Serve the sausages with the sauerkraut potato salad.

Make this salad ahead (up to overnight) to be served with anything barbecue, especially if it has a sweet tang to it.

Any sausage works.  I'd just urge you to choose something sweetish to play up against the sour in the salad. There's a lamb & plum sausage once that totally fit the bill.

If you can get your hands on a curry sauerkraut, try this with a grilled tofu and a teriyaki type sauce.

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