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 a rather weird salad. 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 the main component, but instead each bite has different layers of flavor. By far not the most stylish looking salad, unless we are back in the 1950’s, but that is why I love this salad, it has a lot of charm to me.
I have many 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, probably because there is no real recipe.
Alas, here is a recipe. There are so many versions of it, but this is how I like it, no meat or fish just simple.
2 medium potatoes, peeled (or three small)
2 medium carrots, peeled and ends cut off
1 medium parsnip, peeled and ends cut off
1/4 big celery root (or half a small one), peeled
1 green apple, peeled and diced
2 cups defrosted frozen peas
3 big dill cucumbers in brine (pickles), diced
1 small leek, very thinly diced
2 cups mayo
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp freshly grated horseradish (or 1 tbsp from a jar)
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
– place the potatoes, carrots, parsnip, celery root and eggs in a large pot and cover everything with water. bring to a boil. once the water is boiling set a timer. after 12 minutes take 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 them a bit longer. leave the carrot in for about 35 minutes. keep checking because each vegetable is different. remove everything when ready.
-let the vegetables 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. place in the fridge to cool some more. the salad will last a couple of days in the fridge. I think it usually tastes best the day after being made.