The Bayerischer Wurstsalat, aka Bavarian sausage salad…I am particularly excited about this post! Not as much as I was about Schweinshaxe, but very excited nevertheless. Give me a fresh pretzel bun stuffed with Wurstsalat and a cold Bavarian lager any day, regardless of the season.
As far as I have seen during my travels and learned from my German friends, there are hundreds of different versions of Wurstsalat. Some are prepared with a simple salad dressing/vinaigrette, others with a creamy mayo based dressing. Some have diced boiled egg, others don’t. Sometimes grainy Bavarian mustard is chosen and sometimes a smoother German mustard. And so on.
At its core, a Wurstsalat is a type of meat salad (Fleishsalat) which is a popular snack type food across all of Germany, not only in the south. The one thing that distinguishes a Wurstsalat from the broader category of Fleischsalat is that sausage is used to prepare it, instead of the typical fine ground Lyoner used in most meat salads (Lyoner is known as Bologna in the US).
A few quick clarifications here, by my inner nerd. In German all nouns are capitalized and complex nouns are written as one long word. For example, Fleisch=meat + Salat=salad leads to Fleischsalat. Similarly Wurst=sausage and the rest follows.
I made us the Wurstsalat version for this post because julienned sausage is a bit firmer than julienned Lyoner (Bologna), plus I was able to find a beautiful Bauernwurst (farmer sausage) – lightly smoked pork sausage flavored with garlic and German spices, including mustard seeds.
I also boiled some baby gold potatoes and dressed them while they were still warm so they could absorb more of the dressing’s flavors. The pretzel buns we had were from a nearby bakery. They are not required. Many Germans would simply plate/pair the Wurstsalat with potatoes and red braised cabbage, or perhaps with rye bread (for an open faced sandwich) and the classic German cucumber salad with dill. Truth be told, it is easier to eat Wurstsalat with a fork:)
I grew up eating a very similar ‘salad’ which people referred to as Russian salad. In it diced boiled potatoes and carrots plus canned peas are mixed in with the sausage (or Lyoner/Bologna) and the rest of the ingredients. My Russian born and raised aunt who had immigrated to Bulgaria once she’d married my uncle was shocked to learn about it. She swore that no Russian ate anything like that. But this is another story:)
My point is that there is a special place in my
heart belly for this dish loved all over Germany. Chris and our kiddo both like it, and what is not to like? The flavorful sausage, the crunch of red onion and julienned pickles, the sweet meets salty and sour sprightliness of the dressing. They are all great to pair with German lagers.
In Germany Fleischsalaten and by extension Wurstsalaten are commonly sold already prepared at grocery stores and delis and every single one of these outlets flavors them differently. I made the one for this post with a mayo based dressing and used grated apple which balanced the flavors and contributed to the texture.
For the potatoes I made a quick vinaigrette consisting of olive oil, German mustard, red wine vinegar and flavored it with grated fresh garlic, dill and salt ‘n’ pepper. We eat this kind of warm potatoes frequently since they are so easy and quick to prepare and make a great side for grilled sausages or kuftes (will soon post a recipe of these ground pork patties, a favorite from my childhood). The recipe for the potatoes is included in the Wurstsalat recipe below.
We enjoyed this picnic style Bavarian mini feast in our backyard while Chris was brewing Altbier. A cute little lunch for our small family. You might recognize the amber lager Chris and I paired with it as one of the original Oktoberfestbiers described in our last post.
One thing I really like about Wurstsalat/Fleischsalat is that you can prepare a bigger batch and refrigerate it in an air tight container to use over the course of a few days. I’d frequently eat it spread on toast for breakfast with a cup of strong coffee. Even though Chris finds it quite weird, this is not abnormal to do in Europe:) and by now he is used to my quirks.
For our next post we have another easy to assemble Bavarian snack style food idea that pairs superbly with German lagers. We will look into the Schwarzbier style – a pitch black lager!
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Wurstsalat - Bavarian Sausage Salad
- 1 lb cooked finely ground German sausage (smoked preferred), julienned (can substitute with good quality Bologna)
- 3-4 medium dill pickles julienned
- 1 small to medium red onion sliced in half and then julienned
- 1 apple peeled, cored and grated (recommend Gala or similar)
- fresh dill chopped (to taste)
- fresh parsley chopped (to taste)
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise good quality
- 1 tbsp German mustard or whole grain mustard
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp pickle juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb small gold potatoes or fingerlings cleaned up, skin on
- fresh dill chopped (to taste)
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and grated (to resemble paste)
- 2 tbsp German mustard
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4-6 Pretzel buns optional
- To make the Wurstsalat, combine the julienned sausage, dill pickles, red onion and grated apple in a bowl.
- Mix the dressing by combining and stirring the mayonnaise, mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, pickle juice, dill and parsley and salt and pepper.
- Add the dressing to the other ingredients and fold until well combined.
- Boil the potatoes until fork tender (do not allow to turn to mush).
- Drain, rinse and place in a bowl.
- Make the vinaigrette by mixing the grated garlic, mustard, olive oil, red wine vinegar, chopped dill and salt and pepper.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the still warm potatoes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve the Wurstsalat sandwiched between halved pretzel buns and with a side of the potatoes. Pair with Oktoberfest style beer/Marzen or another German lager.