If you ask for a traditional, homemade, Polish, Sunday lunch, you are very likely to be offered a rich consommé, “rosół” in Polish, which is served with a spaghetti-like, but skinnier, noodles (often also homemade).
The second course will consist of a pork chop or pork tenderloin schnitzel, boiled potatoes sprinkled with freshly chopped, aromatic dill and hot, boiled, buttered white cabbage. These 2 courses mean an ultimate Polish Sunday lunch and taste like home to me.
Root vegetable salad, also known as a winter salad, is an invention of the thoughtful and resourceful Eastern European cooks, who wouldn’t waste any perfectly good, leftover vegetables, which the rosół, mentioned earlier, is cooked with. This includes carrot, parsnip and celery roots.
Sometimes, the vegetables get eaten with the rosół, which is a bit of a bummer, because there is none left for the delicious root vegetable salad. However annoying this can be, the easiest solution is to boil more veggies in a separate pan with water. This will obviously produce another side ingredient: a basic vegetable stock. And the food tale goes on.
Root vegetable salad, as well as the above cooking habits, are always close to my heart. That’s the way we do it where I am from. Little gets wasted. Many people remember skinny years of the past that taught them that in any leftover there is a potential for another delicious meal.
Pretty much every Pole I know looks forward to eating the rosół on Sunday lunch as much as the root vegetable salad anytime later in the week. This salad is best the day after it was made and once you make it, it just waits there, in the fridge (it will last for up to 5 days), with the healthy, veggie smile. It represents a quick, tasty, nutritious and satisfying meal for whenever you can’t be asked to cook or just feel like a nice salad. I enjoy it on a toasted slice of a buttered, warm sourdough bread or simply, on its own.
So what goes in the root vegetable salad?
Except for the root vegetables you’ll need a couple of hard boiled eggs, green peas, canned corn, an apple, some mayo, a bit of horseradish, mustard, fresh, chopped parsley, pinch of salt, pepper and a sour dill pickles in brine (not the sweet & sour kind!).
The last one proves to be a bit more challenging to get anywhere except for Eastern European shops (especially Polish, Latvian and Russian ones) and both, the UK – “Dawtona Cucumbers in Brine”, and the US Amazon – “Dobre Sour Cucumber”. If you are going to buy them online (I tried both brands and they are just fine), you will need to wait a few days for the delivery,but in my opinion these cucumbers should not be skipped or replaced with anything else. In Guernsey, I get them in the Alliance superstore, in the Eastern-European section, by the freezers. Some people I know also like to add finely chopped onion or even some minced garlic, but I prefer not to. Yes, you read it right!
- 2oz (50g) celery root
- 4oz (100g) parsnip root
- 4oz (100g) carrots
- 4oz (100g) apples
- 4oz (100g) sour dill pickles in brine (not the sweet & sour kind!)
- 3 hard boiled eggs
- 2oz (50g) canned corn
- 2oz (50g) canned peas (if you use fresh one, you’ll need to boil it with the root vegetables)
- 2 tbsp chopped, fresh parsley
- 4 oz (120 ml) Hellmann’s mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp horseradish
- salt & pepper to taste
- Slice celery, parsnip and carrot roots into a corn size pieces and place along with whole eggs (in their shells) and peas (if you are using the raw one) in a pan filled with water. Boil it all for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. Don’t let them go mushy.
- Using a colander, drain the hot water and run cold water over the hot vegetables and eggs for a minute or 2, so they all cool right down. Remove the eggs and peel them.
- Place the boiled vegetables in a big bowl.
- Slice the eggs as well as sour cucumbers and apples into a corn size pieces and place them together with the boiled vegetables. Add corn, peas (if you are using the canned one), chopped parsley and mix everything gently together.
- In a small container combine the mustard, mayo, horseradish and mix well before pouring over the vegetables in the bowl. Gently coat the veggies in this sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.