I’ve been eating Polish mixed vegetable salad for as long as I can remember, as it’s one of my mum’s favourite salads. It has always graced Mama’s ‘buffet table’, something she is well known for whenever she hosts a party at her house.
The origins of this salad are Russian: it was created in Moscow in the 1860s by a Belgian chef called Lucien Olivier – hence it is also known as ‘Salad Olivier’. Many Balkan and Eastern European countries have their own versions of this salad, and there are Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French versions, too. This was one of the recipes that I was surprised to see in Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana – which tells me that this salad is eaten as far afield as Iran!
In Poland, it is simply known as sałata jarzynowa, which means vegetable salad, and it almost always contains potatoes, peas, boiled eggs, pickled cucumbers and mayonnaise. My Mama also sometimes adds carrots, sweetcorn and even small white beans. All the vegetables in this salad are cooked, and leftover cooked vegetables can be used, too.
- Yield: 8 Servings
- 3 large potatoes, or 5–6 salad potatoes, peeled
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large carrots, chopped into small cubes
- 1¾ oz 6 tbsp (50 g) fresh or frozen peas
- 1¾ oz 6 tbsp (50 g) cooked sweetcorn
- 1¾ oz 5 tbsp (50 g) cooked white beans
- 2 pickled cucumber spears, finely chopped, plus 1 tbsp of the pickle juice
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 apple
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- If the potatoes are large, cut them in half; put them in a large pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for 7 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to cook for a further 8 minutes, to hard-boil the eggs. Check the potatoes are cooked. Carefully lift out the eggs, then drain the potatoes, and set aside to cool.
- Put the carrots and peas (if using fresh) in a separate pan, add water to just cover the vegetables, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft. (If using frozen peas, add them to the pan after about 7 minutes.) Drain and set to one side.
- Once cool enough to handle, peel the hard-boiled eggs and chop them into small pieces. Chop the potatoes into very small cubes.
- Tip all the vegetables, the pickle juice and the dill into a large bowl. Peel, core and finely chop the apple, and add to the salad. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mayonnaise and give the vegetables a good stir until they are well coated in mayonnaise.
- This salad keeps well in the fridge and tastes better if made the day before serving.