> Lemon and Strawberries: Polish vegetable salad (sałatka jarzynowa)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Polish vegetable salad (sałatka jarzynowa)

The most popular and loved salad in Poland - if you ever will be invited to a house-party, wedding or any event, there is almost 100% certainty that you'll find this salad on the table!

Even though we consider it a traditional Polish dish, the origins of this salad are Russian. It was invented by a Belgian chef Lucien Olivier in XIX century. Its recepture was a secret (especially the sauce), but the ingredients as we know today included: grouse, veal tongues, caviar, lettuce, capers, crayfish tails and smoked duck. Sounds pretty sophisticated, doesn't it?

That's why initially it was served only in some of the luxurious restaurants. Over the time Olivier's salad became very popular and the expensive ingredients were replaced with much cheaper and popular ones. So grouse was replaced by a sausage, capers by sweet pea, crayfish by carrots and so on.
After 1905, Russian aristocrats who were expelled from a country, popularised this salad in Western Europe - even now one can find "Russian salad" in many countries like Spain or Italy. Here in Greece, I also found it as "rosiki salata", it included potatoes, carrots, sweet pea mixed with mayonnaise only, which is far less ingredients than the Polish version served in my house.
In Poland this salad in a vegetarian version became really popular during PPR (Polish People's Republic) times, it was served in almost every restaurant and homes, as it's based on ingredients that were easy to find.

There are several versions of that salad in Poland - some of them include corn, some other beetroots or herrings, some add apple, some don't and so on - all depends on a cook's preferences. The recipe I present here, is one I grew up with and my favourite!

  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 parsley root (optional)
  • a small piece of celery root (optional)
  • 1 apple
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 glass sweet pea
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 gherkins/pickles
  • 200g mayonnaise
  • 1tbs mustard
  • 1-2tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste 

The preparation is pretty simple - cook washed, unpeeled potatoes, carrots, parsley and celery in salted water and let them cool down. Cook sweet/green pea with a little bit of sugar and salt so it maintains nice, green color and let it cool down as well.
Chop onion into a fine pieces, cut gherkins and apple into small cubes. Peel cooked potatoes, parsley, celery and carrots when they're cool, cut them into 1cm cubes.
Cut hard-boiled eggs into little cubes.
Mix all of the ingredients in a big bowl, add 1-2tsp sugar (depending on how sweet your apple is), salt and pepper to taste. Add mustard and mayonnaise and mix gently with a spoon until everything is well combined. 
Cover your salad with a plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 1-2h to mature. Serve cool, with bread. It's a perfect snack or a side dish in a hot day, and goes very well with grilled meats too!


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