German Food, from a Real German

One of the benefits of working for a multinational company is that you have multinational coworkers. Although you may never meet them face-to-face, you get to know them through conference calls, emails, and the magic of Facebook.

My colleagues know that I like to cook and will share recipes with me. This past week, I finally got around to making my coworker’s schnitzel and potato salad recipes. They’re authentic German dishes because they came from a German person… living in Germany… because that’s where she was born and raised. So, if you tell me that the potato salad isn’t authentic because it doesn’t have bacon, I’m going to refer you back to the fact that it came from a German person who got it from her mother-in-law (presumably also German). I don’t think it gets much more authentic than that.

By the way, this potato salad is probably my new favorite recipe. Seriously, the next time I make it, I might add a hardboiled egg. But probably not, I just think I’m on an egg kick lately. If you’re making these two dishes together, start with the potatoes because they’ll take longer to cook. And, allowing them to sit for a bit will develop the flavors nicely.

I’ve added the amounts that I think would be about right as my coworker just gave me ingredients and instructions. But play around with it to get the balance you prefer.

German Potato Salad

  • 4-6 small to medium, waxy potatoes
  • 1 onion, diced (I used purple onions for a bit of extra color.)
  • 2-3 t sugar, divided
  • 2-3 T white vinegar, divided
  • ½-1 C stock, hot
  • 1-2 dashes of Maggi liquid seasoning (found in the Asian aisle of your grocery store)
  • 5-8 T sunflower oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
  • Chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

With their skins on, boil the potatoes in heavily salted water until they are done. Drain the potatoes and rinse them several times with cold water. When the potatoes have cooled slightly (but are still warm), peel them.

Cut them into thin slices. This part was the trickiest for me. If the potatoes break apart, let them cool for a bit more. But you kind of have to balance it out because they need to be warm when you add the other bits.

In a large bowl, mix the onion, 1 t sugar, 1 T vinegar, salt and pepper. Next, add the potatoes. Add a little bit of hot stock over the potatoes. Toss carefully so as not to break the potatoes. (I used a wide spatula to give them a few turns.)

Repeat this two or three times depending upon how much liquid the potatoes will absorb. You want to have the potatoes absorb most of the liquid (so not sitting in a stock bath), but you also want them to be slightly moist. When I did this, I used a little more than ½ C of stock, but I also tasted the potatoes at this point and added another 1 t sugar mixed with an additional 1 T vinegar. Keep this ratio of sugar to vinegar if you decide to add more. And, make sure you dissolve any additional sugar in vinegar before adding to the potatoes so you don’t get one sweet potato next to a tart one.

Then, add a dash of the Maggi seasoning. (A little goes a long way so don’t overdo it.) At this point, let the potato salad sit for a few hours.

Before you’re ready to serve, add the oil in the same manner that you added the stock—slowly so as not to drown the potatoes. Mix the chives in. My coworker stresses that the oil needs to go in at the very end because if you do it any sooner, the potatoes won’t absorb the liquid and will end up bland.

Schnitzel

You can make this recipe with either veal or pork. I used veal because it was on sale at my grocery store that week. This recipe will serve four.

  • 1 lb of boneless meat (chops or steaks work best)
  • Flour
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 2 t mustard
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 dashes of cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil and butter
  • Lemon wedges

Make sure that your meat is well-trimmed. Then, divide it into four equal portions. Now, for the fun part: Take your meat tenderizer and pound the hell out of it. It should be about ¼” thick. The result is called an escalope and is more tender now that the fibers of the meat are broken down. Don’t be shy. Really pound it out.

Pat the meat dry with a paper towel and lightly season with salt and pepper. Now, for the traditional cutlet preparation with three shallow dishes:

  1. Flour
  2. Eggs lightly beaten with the mustard
  3. Breadcrumbs mixed with the cayenne pepper

Over medium-high heat, heat oil and butter in a sauté or fry pan. It should be deep enough that the schnitzel will float while it cooks. You definitely should use the mix of oil and butter because it’s just tastier.

Dip an escalope in the flour, then the egg mixture, then the breadcrumb mixture. Gently place it in the pan (watch for hot oil spray). Cook until they are golden brown—no more than 4 minutes a side. Work in batches and add more oil and butter as necessary.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Results

Schnitzel and potatoes on a plate

Ridiculously easy and ridiculously good. Mr. Moo enjoyed the schnitzel immensely. (I made him mashed potato and cauliflower as his side because Maggi seasoning is a bit salty for the young one.) Paul was a big fan as well, even saying, “I’m getting past the onions because this is so good.”

Simple mealtime win. Thanks, again to wonderful, multinational coworkers!

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  1. #1 by Daniel on 5.17.2012 - 7:56 pm

    Is the mustard in this recipe mustard powder or prepared (i. e. squeezable yellow) mustard?

    • #2 by e.marie on 5.24.2012 - 4:18 pm

      I used prepared mustard (a Dijon type).

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