Thursday, November 17, 2011

RECIPE - Warm German Potato Salad (Salada Morna Alemã de Batatas)

Admittedly, Flavors of Brazil has gone in heavily this week for the more exotic aspects of Brazilian cuisine with posts about flying ants and turtles. So we thought it might be appropriate at this point to feature some plain old Brazilian comfort food - simple to make and simple to eat. In fact this recipe was comfort food long before it even reached Brazil - it was comfort food back home in Europe, too.

The southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina is home to a large community of Brazilians who can look back to German ancestry. In the north and west of the state, those of German heritage are the largest enthic group, and German culture, language and cuisine still thrive even though it's been almost 200 years since the first German immigrants came to Santa Catarina in 1828. Along with Italian, Portuguese and Eastern Europeans, the German population in Santa Catarina helps to make the state the most European in Brazil, with over 86% of the population identifying themselves as Caucasian in the most recent census (in the country as a whole Caucasians are just under 50% of the population).

German food (and drink) are featured at many of the cultural festivals held annually in Santa Catarina, in particular the various encarnations of Oktoberfest held around the state. Sausages, beer, saurkraut, smoked pork chops - all these classic German dishes survived the journey to Brazil and are virtually identical to the original dishes "back home."

This recipe for warm potato salad is a perfect accompaniment for a plate of sausages or pork and in cool or cold weather provides the nourishment for body and soul that identifies a dish as comfort food. It can also be served at room temperature or even chilled, but to enjoy it at its best, serve it warm.

NB. Some versions of this dish contain chopped bacon, but this version is suitable for vegetarians.
RECIPE - Warm German Potato Salad (Salada Morna Alemã de Batatas)
Serves 4

2 Tbsp extravirgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 Tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
6 medium boiling potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed - at room temperature
1 tsp Dijon or German-style mustard
1 hard-cooked egg, cooled, peeled and finely chopped- at room temperature
2 Tbsp green onion, green parts only, chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice
salt to taste
Place the cubed potatoes in a decorative heat-proof serving bowl.

Make the dressing: Combine the mustard, the chopped egg, the chopped green onion and the lime juice. Whisk to emulsify, season with salt to taste and reserve.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and lightly fry the chopped onion, until it is transparent but not browned. Add the vinegar, bring to a boil, then pour over the cubed potatoes. Add the dressing and toss gently to mix thoroughly. Correct seasoning with salt if desired.

Serve immediately, or let stand to return to room temperature.


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