Don’t get me wrong; I’ll never say ‘no’ to the rich complex flavors of a curry, the way dozens of spices can meld just right and dance on the tastebuds. And while I couldn’t necessarily tell you what exactly turmeric tastes like, I know that I love it blended with countless other spices in Channa Masala or a pot of Dal. But I also love a recipe that lets its main players speak for themselves, one that can stand on its own – with maybe just a little help from salt and pepper. That’s where this recipe for Polish salad comes in. Some call it Russian salad, and I’m sure it goes by all kinds of names, but it came to me straight from a Polish woman (my friend Aldona’s mom), so I’ll take her word for it.
There’s plenty of room to play around in this recipe. Potatoes, carrots and celeriac form the base – and I’d say each one is pretty crucial, though the proportions are up to you. As for the bells and whistles, I added onions, peas, pickles, and hard-boiled eggs. Other ideas include parsnips, a tart apple, scallions or diced celery. A mayonaise/yogurt combination binds the salad together with salt and pepper adding a little kick. Warning: this salad is addictive – the kind of dish that perfectly straddles the heartiness of winter and the sweetness of spring.
Ok, without further ado:
INGREDIENTS (serves 6+)
2 Celery Roots (Celeriac), peeled and cut into large chunks
6 medium Potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 Carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 Cup Peas
1/2 small Onion, diced
2 Eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
2 Dill Pickles, chopped
1/2 Cup Yogurt + Mayonaise
salt and pepper, to taste
THE HOW TO
- Boil the celeriac, potatoes and carrots until tender (not mushy). Remove from water (which would make a perfect stock for soup) and, once cool, chop into small cubes.
- In a large bowl, combine the cubed veggies with the peas, onions, hard-boiled eggs, and the pickles.
- Mix the yogurt and mayonaise together (I used probably 4 or 5 tablespoons of mayo and let yogurt fill the rest of the 1/2 Cup – if you want a creamier salad, add more) and pour over the veggie mixture in the bowl.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Lemon juice, celery seed, mustard, or dill would also be delicious, but I think you’ll find the veggies – and the mayo, of course – speak for themselves.