I recently made The Baker’s Wife’s Potatoes, a recipe dressed in Roger Stowell’s beautiful photos at Food, Photography and France . The potatoes are as splendid as his photography. I served them up with lamb chops brushed with thyme and garlic olive oil.
But those potatoes reminded us of Denmark. Well sort of, because the Danish version isn’t smooth and subtle like a French woman. Danes like their potatoes, and women I suspect, with a touch of bawdiness, backbone, boldness … (Let’s break that string of alliteration; I reckon 3 of anything is excessive) … and Danes love a hint of unexpected tartness. Not tartiness – tartness. From a swig of vinegar, that is. Danes love vinegar. They splash it at herring, eel, beet root, cucumbers sliced thin as mountain air, mustard sauce on steamed cod, pickled squash, pickled onions, bee stings, ant bites, sunburn, pan-fried herring, sliced radishes, mouth ulcers, and trust me, you have to be a tough old Viking to swill vinegar on a mouth ulcer and remain standing upright. So if you want French sophistication and subtly, try Mr Stowell’s potatoes but if you want a bit of bawdy boldness, try this recipe. Or better still, try both.
Varm Kartoffelsalat (Warm Potato Salad)
500g waxy medium-size potatoes (cooked 10-mins, cooled, peeled, sliced 3-4mm)
1 small onion or ½ large onion, thinly sliced
1 T butter or margarine
50ml vinegar (white wine or apple cider vinegar)
125ml chicken or vegetable bouillon
salt to taste and pepper generously
½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
Cook medium-size potatoes with skin-on for 10-minutes until *just* tender. Drain, set aside to cool completely (at least 4-hours so starch settles). Peel the potatoes using the blunt edge of a small knife, and pull the skins off the flesh. Slice into 3-4mm disks (about ¼”). Set aside.
Slice the onion thinly. Now melt the butter or margarine in a frying pan, and then add the sliced onion. Sweat until translucent. Add the vinegar and bouillon to the onions, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Add the sliced potatoes, toss gently in the liquid and simmer until the bouillon is completely absorbed. Add a generous amount of pepper, and salt to taste (careful because the vinegar gives it a salty taste). Garnish with fresh chives, if you have them.