History: Potato Salad Recipes
Throughout modern history potato salad is certainly one of the most popular salad recipes of all. Potatoes have been popular throughout Europe since the 1500s, when the Spanish spread their appeal throughout the land. A lot of countries were growing and using potatoes by the beginning of the 1600s. There were different recipes for this vegetable as well as different preparation techniques, according to local culinary practices.
The First Known Recipe for Potato Salad
An early potato salad recipe, dating back to 1597, calls for potatoes to be boiled in water or wine, or simmered with prunes, and then dressed with vinegar, oil and salt.
European settlers introduced potato salad recipes to America and the modern style of potato salad became famous in the latter part of the 1800s. German potato salad usually has a warm bacon and vinegar dressing, whereas the French and British styles are usually served cold.
An American cookbook from 1863 suggests that you cook potatoes in an oven or on hot cinders. When they are tender, peel and slice them. Arrange them in a salad dish with chopped parsley, vinegar, oil (or butter), salt and pepper. You can add sliced beets or pickles if you like.
All through history potato salad recipes have been a good way to use up leftover cooked potatoes; some potato salad recipes will also state that fact. Potato salad used to be made with French dressing but later recipes, from the 1940s and onwards, usually recommended mayonnaise instead.
Warm Potato Salad Recipes
German potato salad is often served either warm or at room temperature, and there is something about warm potato salad which makes it wonderful comfort food. Peel, chop, boil and drain your potatoes, then toss them with warm sautéed onion and mayonnaise for a really mouthwatering salad, adding salt and black pepper to taste. You can sauté the onions briefly so they are still crunchy, or caramelize them so they are soft, sweet, and golden brown.
Another alternative is adding some chopped green onions. This recipe is also very good with chopped fresh parsley or mint, depending what you plan to serve with it. If you are serving your warm potato salad with lamb burgers, lamb sausages, or lamb chops, go for the mint, else the parsley is good. Try serving your potato salad hot instead of warm. It is still a salad since you are using mayonnaise for the dressing, but the heat gives it a special touch and makes it unique. If the weather is hot though, ice-cold potato salad is also lovely.
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