Polish Veggie Salad, take 1

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Ingredients: 2 big carrots, 1 parsley root, 1 big celery root or 2 medium, 1 small yellow or red onion, 3 medium potatoes, 1 red pepper, 2 eggs, ¼ red apple (missing: canned green peas and radish), juice of half lemon, 1 tbsp olive oil, 5 tbsp or more Kielecki mayonnaise, 1 tsp mustard

Seasonings: a pinch of black pepper, a pinch of Himalaya salt

If there is one thing that reminds me of home, that is definitely the sałatka jarzynowa – the traditional Polish vegetable salad. It’s a mixture of root vegetables which encounter the soft flavour of mayonnaise, add a little bit of salt and black pepper, a drop of olive oil,  squeeze a fresh lemon, sparkle a little bit of dried parsley and you’ll have a delicious salad for supper.

Traditionally it is said that every Polish family has its own secret recipe that has been passed on from generation to generation. And the same applies to my family. To be honest, though, I have slighlty reinvented it: my mum and grandma used to add pickled cucumbers. I have decided to leave them out, mainly because of their flavours, which is too  salty for me. Usually I add canned green peas and radish, however on the day I made the salad, I didn’t have them at home and I couldn’t find them anywhere. So the above is a simplified version, which I like anyway. It’s colourful and there is a twist of sunny colours that make me think of summer already: white, yellow, orange and red.

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It’s all about the pureness of flavours that is preserved when making this salad, even if a lot of ingredients are mixed together, none of them prevails on the other. The sweetness of the root vegetables is perfectly balanced with the tangy taste of the mayonnaise and the black pepper in the end add that kick of spiciness. Better served with fresh crunchy bread and the day after it tastes even better.

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Fun facts:

  • In Italian this salad, or better a very similar version, is called insalata russa (Russian salad).
  • The main vegetables used for it are carrots, parsnip and celery root, which are commonly known in Polish under the name of włoszczyzna. The name derives from Włochy – Italy in Polish, because back in the XVI century the queen Bona Sforza d’Aragona, who married the Polish king Zygmunt I Stary, brought all those vegetables to Poland directly from Italy.

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