This is a terrific salad, and believe me, if you’ve never had anything like it, you’ve never had anything like it.
Among Poles, this is a traditional, celebratory salad. Yes, I put the words “celebratory” and “salad” together. Think hearty, rustic, peasant, old-country – all in the best ways.
In addition to making an appearance as a side dish at a wedding, this is also the kind of salad one might eat for breakfast on a major holiday. Uh-huh, I just put the words “salad” and “breakfast” within four words of one another. I know, it’s getting kind of scary … but stick with me. The rest of the breakfast might consist of cold meats and cheeses. If you’ve never had this kind of breakfast, you have no idea how much of life you’re missing out on. How Americans got tricked into eating nothing but cold cereal and pop tarts in the morning is, well, one of the downsides of living in modern America. (Celebrity presidents is the other.)
This is not a salad for the meek. You’ll be surprised at how bold it is. It’d stand up proudly to smoked salmon and shots of ice-cold vodka. (Yes, even breakfast vodka.)
Serves 6-8 … at least!
FOR THE SALAD:
2 red potatoes (1 lb, 3.5 oz. total), optionally peeled
2 carrots (6.5 oz. total), peeled
2 parsnips (11.5 oz. total), peeled
1 small celery root (10 oz.), peeled
1 white onion (10.5 oz.)
8 dill pickle spears (7.5 oz.), diced and allowed to drain of excess juice
1 cup frozen peas (5 oz.)
Hard boil the eggs, and once they’re done, chop them. Meanwhile, dice the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and celery root to perfect, uniform, pea-sized cubes.
Steam the diced veggies until they’re just shy of perfectly tender. They’ll continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove them from direct heat, so be careful that they don’t wind up mushy when all’s said and done. (For me, this means about 18 minutes in a rice cooker, stirring them on occasion. You could do it in the microwave.) Meanwhile, dice the onion.
Preheat a 10-inch, cast-iron skillet for 2 minutes over low heat. Add butter, and raise temperature to medium. Add one small piece of onion; once the onion starts to sizzle, add the rest of the onion and sauté until soft and sweet, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Off heat.
FOR THE DRESSING:
6 Tbs mayo (4 oz.)
6 Tbs Greek-style yogurt (substitute sour cream)
1 tsp mustard
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Mix the dressing together. Taste for seasoning. Gently toss everything together. Chill.
- When you get the vegetables home from the market, you’re going to think it looks like far too little to make eight servings. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that it is.
- No need to let the peas defrost beforehand. They’ll defrost as the salad chills.
Polish Root Vegetable Salad
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