It’s all too obvious to start by saying that there are only a few cultures in the world that would say the following two things back to back.
I want a salad.
Let’s make it entirely out of sausage.
Great, let’s call it Wurstsalat.
That translates to sausage salad which may not sound so appetizing, hence saying it in German, but the taste is great regardless of name. The mustard and vinegar from the dressing should make the extreme amounts of sausage not only palatable but refreshing and filling at the same time.
That cheap shot on German culture out of the way and given this may be the farthest thing from a green salad, it is not the farthest thing from a salad by definition, at least from the history of the word. Salad comes from the Latin sal, which means salt. And this salad has plenty of it. The Latin term for salting something, not in the sense of drying it, but of having added salt to it (salata) found it’s way down to the word salad. According to the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture:
The term salade derived from the Vulgar Roman herba salata, literally ‘salted herb’. It remained a feature of Byzantine cookery and reentered the European menu via medieval Spain and Renaissance Italy. At first “salad” referred to various kinds of greens pickled in vinegar or salt. The word salade later referred to fresh-cooked greens or raw vegetables prepared in the Roman manner.
Salt apparently had a lot to do with ancient cooking as salsicius gave way to sausage. So I guess this is a salsicius salata. Cue the guffaw from the armchair professor who makes jokes in Latin that no one else understands. MVR! MVR would be the Latin LOL, i.e. Magna Voce Rideo… yeah. Anyway…
Wurstsalat mit Bratkartoffeln und Krauterquark translates roughly to Sausage Salad with Fried Potatoes and Herbed Curd Cheese. Traditionally, and only in the more southern and western parts of Germany, wurstsalat is served with fried potatoes and quark. In other parts of the country, it’s eaten with bread. As a sidenote, if you ask for your sausage salad with potatoes and not bread in Bavaria, they will apparently “look at you like you are crazy.”
Quark however is often served with either version of the dish and some things should be said about it. Mainly, Wikipedia likes to note the following:
confusion might arise when talking about quark with non-Germans
So, let’s clear some of that up. Quark is not sour cream, cream cheese, or cottage cheese. It tastes somewhat like a thicker and better sour cream, but it is definitely not a publishing software. It is a live culture cheese from buttermilk that can be made at home, much like yogurt. However, if science kits are not to your liking while cooking you can substitute sour cream, just don’t tell any Germans. For an easier home version, take a look at this recipe using packaged quark cultures. For this recipe, we used plain soda water to cut the quark into a thinner but still creamy consistency, but cream is often added as well.
This dish may seem like a heart attack on a plate, but actually… no, it is a heart attack. However, the dressing listed below will cut a lot of the weight of the sausage, and the quark will at least make it feel like the potatoes are less heavy. After all, this is traditional German food; it’s not like we’re expecting raw vegetables. Commonly, it’s more usual to have a glass of wine with wurstsalat as a kind of palate cleansing endeavor, but pairing a beer with it can be equally satisfying.
Beyond that, this is a poor man’s dish. It’s exactly the kind of food we love at When Eating a Wolf. Laborers often head to a butcher to buy a small tub of prepared wurstsalat to eat with either bread or potatoes. I was given this recipe from a dear friend of mine from Freiburg, home of the Freiburger Münster, a cathedral dating back to 1230 CE. Wurstsalat is an old recipe, perhaps not that old, but it’s always nice to eat the things that could have been eaten by the people that built something as extraordinary as that.
On top of this being a peasant food, it’s fairly regional, especially when eaten with potatoes. It is particularly quaint and full of authentic rambling to eat this dish at a Straussen or Besenwirtschaften. Basically they’re small vineyards specializing in a particular sweet German wine called Neuen Suben; they will open their doors for a short time out of the year and serve regional home-made specialties. Namely, wurstsalat is high on the menu. It can be a great way to eat your way through the Black Forest.
- Lyoner sausage, 2 kilos // any boiled sausage of your liking can be substituted, i.e. stadtwurst, regensburger or extrawurst
- 1 onion, diced
Dressing // a basic mustard vinaigrette
- a dash of oil // there is plenty in the sausage
- white wine vinegar, 1/2 cup
- a good and strong mustard, 2 tbs.
- beef stock, 1 tsp.
- salt and pepper
- potatoes, 2 kilos
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup of quark
- soda water, 1 tbs.
- chives, 1 bunch // we substituted spring onion
- a pinch of sugar
- salt and pepper
- cut the sausage into long strips, a thicker version of julienne
- mix dressing vigorously
- mix with diced onion and cover with dressing
- boil potatoes until tender, but not ready to mash
- peel, chop, and fry in butter
- add salt and pepper to taste
- mix ingredients until smooth and creamy
- even if you’re using a round sausage, cut it into long strips to maintain a regional authenticity, other parts of Germany cut the sausage into a half-moon shape
- the addition of beef stock to the dressing adds some heft to the flavors and is preferred by moms all over southwest Germany
- soda water can be substituted for cream, however soda is not only a “diet” version of this dish, some believe it makes the quark that much creamier
- make plenty of quark, everyone eats it