German Potato Salad and Cucumber Salads for Oktoberfest

This weekend we celebrate Oktoberfest. Now I’m sure gatherings will be scaled down due to the pandemic, and some of you will be doing Oktoberfest at home. Oktoberfest salads are part of the fun.

My German mother-in-law, Clara, made the best German potato salad. I remember it warm, with a bit of a bite from the vinegar. Problem is, like so many heirloom recipes, Clara’s wasn’t written down. So after a few tries, I came up with something yummy and similar. 

Maybe you’d like an authentic cold cucumber salad for the festivities. Try Iron Skillet restaurant’s specialty. No kidding, it’s so good and different from what you might expect. 

Clara’s German potato salad

If you like a tarter sauce, add more vinegar; more sugar if you like it a bit sweeter. 

Red potatoes are waxy and hold up well. Ditto for all purpose potatoes, like Yukon gold. White bakers are starchy and break up a little after cooking. But go ahead and use what you have.

Ingredients

Boiled, peeled and sliced potatoes, kept warm, about 2 pounds or 6 cups, sliced 1/4” thick

8 slices bacon, fried and crumbled — save drippings (I had about 1/4 cup from thick sliced bacon)

1 medium yellow or white onion diced, a good cup or so

2-3 ribs celery, diced

2 tablespoons flour

2/3 cup cider vinegar or to taste

1/3 cup water or to taste

1/4 cup sugar or to taste

Salt and pepper

Parsley (optional)

Instructions

Cook onion and celery in drippings until tender but not brown.

Sprinkle flour over, stir and add vinegar and water. It will look lumpy. Boil until slightly thickened, whisking as you go, and then stir in sugar, salt and pepper. 

Put potatoes and bacon in bowl, pour dressing over and stir gently until blended. Let sit a bit to absorb flavors, then adjust seasonings. 

Garnish with parsley.

Tip: 

Warm potatoes absorb sauce better.

Like Iron Skillet’s cucumber salad

Laszlo Molnar’s Hungarian restaurant, Laszlo’s Iron Skillet, www.ironskillet.com, offers authentic fare and scratch breads made in their Clermont County restaurant. Laszlo and his sister, Monica are passionate about carrying on the tradition their parents started in 1973. (The original restaurant was in Mt. Washington.) I’ve changed Laszlo’s recipe a little from one I’ve shared. It’s hard to know how many cucumbers to use so go to taste. Like a milder garlic taste?  Peel and smash the garlic instead of mincing, then remove before serving.

Ingredients

4-6 cucumbers, unpeeled if young, small and tender, peeled if larger and skin is thicker, sliced real thin

1 tablespoon salt 

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup each sugar and clear or cider vinegar

1/4 cup water

Paprika and sour cream (optional but good) 

Instructions

Put sliced cucumbers in bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss.  Let sit at room temperature one hour. Put in colander and drain, put in bowl, add garlic and mix. Whisk sugar, vinegar and water until sugar dissolves. 

Pour over cucumbers and mix.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  

Top each serving with sour cream and paprika to taste. 

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