Friday, July 6, 2012

Veitshochheim Summer Salad (a Trio of German Salads)

Veitshochheim Summer Salad:

A meal fit for a king, lounging about his summer residence, I dare you to say the name 3 times quickly with a mouth full of cabbage.  The name of this dish comes by way of a memory of a beautiful summer day and a boat ride down the Main River to the summer residence of the wealthy ruling Prince-Bishops of the 18th century, near Wurzburg in Northern Bavaria.Salads in our German days, were simple and light composed of fresh leaf lettuce, grated carrots and mild, smoky pimento dressed sparingly with vinegar and oil.  Kartoffelsalat, (potato salad) most often served with wurst (sausage) of various hues and sizes, was dressed with vinegar, mustard seed and speck (bacon). I personally appreciated more than just a speck of bacon in my serving!

The following version uses bratwurst instead of the bacon, as a tribute to the street food served in the market square of Wurzburg - Bratwurst mit brochen. I grilled the bratwurst and then roughly chopped it.  Serve bratwurst with caution - you can put an eye out with one of those things as I learned when turning around into one at the Christkindlmarkt in Nurnberg.The preparation of the four different salads certainly binds you to the kitchen fo rprep but once chopped and seasoned, you have a meal and little else need be done. The result is a German Salad Supper, a complete meal though meat lovers among you may appreciate some grilled bratwurst on the side, served with mustard in warm crusty rolls (brotchen). The tomato salad speaks with a vinegar twang tempered by the sweet nature of the balsamic vinegar. The cucumbers have a tart bite spiked with dill and the potato salad and cabbage slaw, as you would expect are of the vinegar persuasion but which make a surprisingly respectable showing. (Notice-no mayo here which is sacrilege in my kitchen but typical of southern Germany).  Besides creating a platter of popping colors and textures that shout summer and all things fresh, the salads combine on the palate to complement each other with bold fresh flavors and undercurrents of sweet and tangy accents.


Cabbage Slaw (Krautsalat):
1 cabbage, cored and shredded
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, diced
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
-Place cabbage, red pepper and green onion in 
large bowl.  

-In small saucepan, combine sugar and vinegar. 
Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves.  Add
celery seed, salt and oil and heat for 2 minutes.
-Let dressing cool for 5 - 10 minutes.  Pour over
cabbage and toss.  Season with coarsly ground
-Serves 8 - 10

Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat):
4 medium potatoes
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 bratwurst, grilled and roughly chopped
       (or 4 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled)
1 tab. sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tab. mustard seed
1/4 cup oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tab. chopped parsley
-Boil unpeeled potatoes in large pot of salted 
boiling water, with quartered onion, until potatoes
are tender when pierced with a fork.  Remove 
from heat and set aside until cool enough to handle. 
Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4 inch chunks.  Place 
in large bowl.
-Add green onions and bratwurst to potatoes.
-In medium saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar,
mustard seed, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to 
a boil.  Remove from heat and slowly pour in 
oil.  Continue to cook over heat another 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes.
-Pour dressing over warm potatoes, toss and
season with salt and pepper.  Stir in parsley.
-Serves 6 - 8

German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat):
2 English cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
    (you may leave the peel on if you prefer)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
-Place cucumber slices into medium bowl.  Chill while 
making dressing.
-In separate bowl, mix sour cream, lemon juice, sugar and dill.  
Season with salt and pepper.
-Pour dressing over cucumber and mix.  Serve immediately.
-Serves 4 - 6

Tomato Salad (Tomatensalat):
4 large tomatoes
1 bunch green onions
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tab. balsamic vinegar
2 tab. orange juice
5 tab. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
-Wash tomatoes and cut into wedges.  Cut green onions
diagonally into 1 inch pieces. 
-Mix chopped yellow onion, vinegar, orange juice and oil.  Season 
with salt, pepper and sugar.
-Place tomatoes and green onions into bowl and pour dressing 
over and toss.
-Serves 6

To Assemble German Salad Supper:
On a large open platter, mound potato salad in the center
(it is the star of the meal!) Place 3 large lettuce cups 
around the edges of the potato salad to act as containers 
for the other salads.  In one, mound the tomato salad, in 
another the cucumber salad and in the third, the cole slaw.  
Garnish with dill sprigs and strips of fresh red pepper.  
Chill for about 20 minutes before serving.

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