Few German dishes are simpler or more humble than potatoes with flaxseed oil and quark. It takes less than 30 minutes to prepare but it always tastes delicious and filling. It’s a former poor man’s food from the Eastern parts of Germany that has gotten popular all around Germany mainly because flaxseed oil and quark are considered health foods nowadays.
Flaxseed oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids which most Germans don’t get enough of because fish consumption is too low. And quark is full of high-quality milk protein. This combination is so popular that many Germans eat it for breakfast. You can mix quark and flaxseed oil and serve it with fruits and grains. It’s a delicious and nourishing breakfast. Much better than sugary cereals.
I urge you to use full-fat (40 %) quark for this recipe. Lean quark is just dry and crumbly, not creamy at all. Yes, this dish is a little fatty but that is what makes it so good. Also, be generous with the flaxseed oil because it tastes good and it is good for your health. It’s very heat sensitive and spoils within a few weeks. So always buy a small bottle and use it up as quickly as possible before it gets rancid.
I love caraway seeds in my quark mixture because they taste great in combination with potatoes and they aid digestion. They prevent bloating. If you don’t like caraway seeds then you can omit them or use any other spices you like in your quark. Potatoes with flaxseed oil and quark is a dish with hundreds of possible variations.
For this recipe, I wouldn’t recommend substituting the quark with anything else. Yes, sour cream or yogurt might also taste good. But these products lack the protein of quark. So the dish still tastes delicious but it doesn’t offer the same health benefits.
As always when preparing German potatoes, they should be boiled skin-on. That way you preserve their unique flavor and prevent nutrients from leaching out into the cooking water.
Potatoes with Flaxseed Oil and Quark (‘Kartoffeln mit Leinöl und Quark’)
For the quark:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 small shallots, finely minced
- 1 pound (500 g) full-fat (40 %) quark
- 1/3-1/2 cup whole milk, to loosen up the quark
- caraway seeds, lightly crushed, to taste
- 2 teaspoons flaxseed oil
- salt, to taste
- 2 pounds (1 kg) boiled potatoes, peeled after boiling
- chives, finely minced
- flaxseed oil, for drizzling
- Heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the minced shallots and sweat for 1-2 minutes, until they have lost their pungency.
- In a bowl, whisk together the quark and milk. The mixture should have a thick sauce-like consistency. Then stir in the shallots, caraway seeds, flaxseed oil and season to taste with salt.
- Sprinkle the quark with chives and serve with jacket potatoes. Place the bottle of flaxseed oil on the dinner table so that all eaters can drizzle additional oil onto their quark and potatoes (highly recommended to add a big drizzle at the table!).
Alas, no quark easily available in the US. They did away with it when they invented cream cheese. Vermont Creamery made some, but it was very expensive, and didn‘t quite taste or feel right.
How unfortunate. Quark is so much better suited for baking and cooking than cream cheese. I always wonder why there is no direct substitute in the US. Sour cream is too watery for many baking applications but I guess pastry chefs in the US prefer to work with milk powder if they need a higher dry matter content.
Quark is available at Whole Foods in some places.