The celebrations are over obviously. But there will be more. Also I got engaged over the holiday and so I have that to celebrate still! (and learn how to make a wedding cake…)
I am calling this salad celebration salad because I am not sure what to call it really. It is obviously olivier salad, which in Poland they call sałatka jarzynowa – which basically means vegetable salad. It is a salad my family has pretty much every time there is a holiday and possibly birthday. I am sure if you are Polish you might have a similar experience. If you are not Polish you might think it is weird. I was eating it yesterday and someone asked me what was in it and I said, vegetables with mayo, and pickle and egg and apple. She is from Michigan and said that sounds like her potato salad, and I agree. It is a bit like potato salad with potato not being that main component, but all the good stuff spread throughout so that each bite has different layers of flavor. It is pretty great, but slightly reminiscent of a salad you would eat at a 50’s dinner party. But that is why I love it and that is also why I would like to call it celebration salad (at least here).
(If you didn’t read the link to olivier salad, this was very interesting: The first version of olivier salad was apparently “grouse, veal tongue, caviar, lettuce, crayfish tails, capers, and smoked duck” – so I guess our version is like the poor man’s version!!!)
I have good memories with this salad. My dad is always the chopper of the vegetables, he doesn’t cook much but can be (like many men in the kitchen) very precise about his chopping, but my mother always gives him a hard time anyway. And my brother, who doesn’t like many other traditional Polish dishes, loves this salad and often complains it doesn’t always taste the same, because there is no real recipe.
Alas, here is a recipe. Maybe it’s not for us because once you know how to make it following a recipe is a bit of a pain. But maybe the world wants to make this salad, (hint: they do!). There are so many versions of it, but this is how I like it, no meat or fish just simple.
2 medium potatoes, peeled
2 medium carrots, peeled and ends cut off
1 medium parsnip, peeled and ends cut off
1/4 big celery root, peeled
1 green apple, peeled and diced
2 cups defrosted frozen peas
3 dill cucumbers in brine (pickles), diced
1 small leek, very thinly diced
1 1/4 cup mayo
1 tsp dried marjoram
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp horshradish
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
-in a large pot place the potatoes, carrots, parsnip, celery root and eggs. cover with water and bring to a boil. once the water is boiling set a timer. after 12 minutes takes out the eggs and place them in cold water. after about 30 minutes take out the potato, parsnip and celery root. if they are not soft yet leave a bit longer. leave the carrot in for about 35 minutes. keep checking because each vegetable is different. remove when ready.
-let the vegetable and eggs cool. chop up the apple, pickles and leek into even diced pieces. once the cooked vegetables have cooled to room temperature chop them up the same way.
-place all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl. mix the mayo, mustard, horseradish, marjoram, salt and pepper in a small bowl until well combined. mix the dressing with the vegetables thoroughly, adjusting seasoning as needed.