Potato salad with cucumber









Over the years, my Mum’s second potato salad has become our first choice when potato salads are called for. Yes, we used to be a solid two-potato-salads-family (Mama’s version & my Oma’s version) but slowly we’ve upgraded to five – so I think it’s save to say we have acquired some deep knowledge about those things. Of course, there is nothing wrong with her original one, the classic German Kartoffelsalat of potatoes, pickled gherkins, onions & mayonnaise (my Grandma’s one is with raw egg yolk and nothing else should ever cross my lips where pan-fried Rotbarsch (rose fish) is served) but one day my Mother presented us with her new & improved version sans mayo but with crunchy fresh cucumbers, sharp onions and a light white wine vinaigrette. Heaven and pretty much the moment of a paradigm shift in my parent’s household concerning potato salads.

I could eat this single-handedly straight out of the bowl (and I do when no one is looking) or as a side to anything. It’s a fabulous potato salad, zingy but pleasingly mellow with a fresh sharpness & cucumber crispness to it which is exceptionally good and refreshing with pan-fried fish, Schnitzel, chicken legs, chicken wings, sausages … you get the idea: The perfect backyard / garden party / picnic / barbecue food. It’s light and can take the heat (I don’t know about you but we are expecting a few scorching days around 34°C / 93°F) a little better compared to any mayo-laden classic. So, cool the drinks, invite some people, light up the grill and make a potato salad. Last year, we thought its crunch & vinegary freshness was a divine companion to Bourbon-marinated grilled pork loin with a rich, intensive, molasses-like sauce and lets not forget some first class bbq ribs.

The difference here is to make this salad from cooled potatoes when otherwise one would toss quite hot peeled potatoes with the vinaigrette for maximum sauce-saturation. This way, the salad stays light and clean flavoured. A last spritz of lemon juice, which I have called optional since it strays from my Mum’s original recipe, delivers another burst of refreshing acidity. I also prefer the cucumber unpeeled since it retains more bite this way. My Mum would peel it. You decide.


Today’s Art links are: Cucumber sculptures by Austrian contemporary artist Erwin Wurm. Erwin Wurm: Gurken, Kunstprojekt Salzburg 2011 & Erwin Wurm: Untitled (Gurke), Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich. Just press the cucumbers & Feel free to discover the other art links in my other blog posts starting from here.



my Mum's potato salad

Mum’s potato salad with cucumber


5 salad potatoes, unpeeled
1 cucumber (ordinary garden or English cucumber), unpeeled
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, to taste
6 tablespoons sunflower oil, to taste
salt & white pepper
lemon juice (optional)
chives, chopped


Boil or steam potatoes in their skins, leave to cool, then peel and cut into slices. Finely slice the cucumber, sprinkle with a little salt, leave in a strainer to cure and soften for a few minutes. Gently squash the cucumber slices to remove more excess liquid. Assemble chopped onions, potato & cucumber slices in a bowl, season with combined vinegar & sunflower oil as well as salt & pepper. Leave for the flavours to meld and develop, then check and season again. Add a spritz of lemon juice for a final lift and sprinkle with chives.




 Deutsches Rezept

my Mum's potato salad

Mamas Kartoffelsalat mit Gurke

Meine Version weicht etwas von Mamas Original ab, ich bevorzuge die Gurke ungeschält für etwas mehr Biß und etwas Zitronensaft für einen letzten Frischekick. Schmeckt außergewöhnlich gut zu gebratenem oder gegrilltem Fisch, eigentlich zu allem Gegrillten aber besonders hat er uns zu dem leckeren Bourbon-mariniertem Schweinefilet vom letzten Jahr gefallen.


5 Salatkartoffeln, ungeschält
1 Salatgurke, ungeschält
1 mittlere weiße Zwiebel, kleingehackt
3 EL Weißweinessig, nach Geschmack
6 EL Sonnenblumenöl, nach Geschmack
Salz & weißer Pfeffer


Gewaschene Kartoffeln kochen, abkühlen lassen, dann pellen und in Scheiben schneiden. Salatgurke in Scheiben hobeln oder schneiden, salzen und für einige Minuten in einem Durchschlag abtropfen lassen. Anschließend leicht drücken um noch etwas mehr Wasser zu entfernen. Gehackte Zwiebel, Kartoffel- und Gurkenscheiben in eine Schüssel geben und mit einer Sauce aus Weißweinessig und Sonnenblumenöl vermischen, salzen und pfeffern. Eine Weile ziehen lassen, dann abschmecken und erneut würzen. Zum Schluß etwas Zitronensaft für Extrafrische hinzugeben und mit Schnittlauch bestreuen.






17 thoughts on “Potato salad with cucumber

    • Such a pleasure, Gerlinde. Oh Mann, since I wrote ribs, I can’t seem to think about anything else myself. Time to make some again, very soon, I hear someone in the background too. There we go. Have a great bbq, N xx

  1. Love the simplicity of it and the fact that there is no mayo to cover up the ingredients. What you see is what you get and it sure looks delish!
    One to add to the cook book, Nicole (the one you will be writing). J x

  2. Sounds great, it’s never occurred to me to put cucumber in a potato salad but I suppose they’re just fresh gherkins! Will be giving this a try, thanks for sharing. L.

    • It’s my pleasure, Linda. Fundamentally, yes, you could even try it with larger ‘raw’ pickling or Persian / Kirby cucumbers though I just use an ordinary garden cucumber. N x

  3. Mmmmmm i love german potato salad ohne mayonnaise! !! My friend’s bayerische mum gave me the recipe she uses, which comes from her home economic textbook from the 70s. This also looks great! Happy summer days, Nicole! Xo

    • Thanks, Ange, sorry for answering so late – I did enjoy the summer days enormously and did not take care of anything else. Happy summer days to you, too – may it return very, very soon! N xx

    • Claudia, now you mention it, I think I have eaten this Swabian potato-cucumber mashed salad a long time ago, yummy, definitely on the agenda now for a re-taste. Thank you! Aren’t they crazy, those sculptures? I loved them. N xx

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