Ahhh, sałatka. When I heard the word sałatka (salad) as a kid, I did not think of a plate of greens. Instead, my mouth would start watering at the thought of my mom’s delicious cubed vegetable salad. For someone who has never had this type of dish before, it might seem like some sort of a potato salad. Potatoes are a big component, but it shares space with other vegetables so it isn’t truly a potato salad.
In many countries, this type of dish is called Russian or Olivier salad. Its popularity extends from Eastern Europe all the way to Iran and Central Asia. This isn’t surprising when you consider the size and influence of Russia, and it shows just how cuisines around the world are influenced by one another.
Anyway, some form of this dish will find its way to every Polish Easter celebration. Some include ham or kiełbasa, while some (maybe most) include onions or leeks. I’m sure these are all wonderful additions and variations, but Mama Zofia’s is my favorite!
Do yourself a favor and get a vegetable dicer! Every ingredient in this dish should be cubed the exact same size. Growing up, one of my biggest jobs around Easter was preparing the sałatka. I would peel all the potatoes and apples and wait for my mom to boil the other ingredients. Then I would park myself at the dining table and chop ingredients for a solid hour. My world was rocked when my mom came home one day with a vegetable dicer. It made the process so much easier! It is also a handy tool for some other dishes, so go ahead and get one.
- 4 red potatoes, peeled, boiled, cubed
- 4 carrots, boiled, cubed
- 1 parsley root, boiled, diced
- 1/2 of a celery root, boiled, cubed
- 3 hard boiled eggs, cubed
- 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cubed
- 6 pickles (in brine, not vinegar), cubed
- 1 can of drained peas (defrosted and cooked peas are fine too)
- ~ 5 tablespoons of mayonnaise (can be adjusted based on how creamy you want salad)
- 1/2 teaspoon of spicy stone ground mustard, or dijon mustard
- Few sprigs of parsley, chopped
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Boil and cool carrots, parsley root, potatoes and celery root. Carrots should be boiled until they become slightly soft, but do not overcook! They should remain slightly firm. Cube the cooled vegetables and add a large mixing bowl.
- Cube pickles and peeled apples and drain the peas. Add to the mixing bowl with other vegetables.
- Boil eggs for about 9 minutes, until they are hard boiled. Let them cool, cube and add to the mix.
- Add in the desired amount of mayonnaise. Start with 3-5 tablespoons and add more 1 tbsp. at time if you want it to be more creamy. Add in mustard and some black pepper. With a large spoon, gently mix the ingredients together. Be sure not to mash any of the vegetables!
- Add several pinches of salt and mix in a few sprigs of chopped parsley. Your sałatka is now ready!