|To match a Russian Feast...
Pink Potato Salad
Vinegret iz Kartofelya i Svyokly
yet another great variation on russian potato salad, in this case visually sensational
- I n g r e d i e n t s -
Potatoes - 4 pounds, small Yukons or Creamer style potatoes, organic if possible
Beets - 2 smaller bunch beets
Hard-boiled Eggs - 7, firmly boiled with the yolks discarded, chopped
Cucumber - 2 conventional, or 1 large 'English' Cucumber, diced
Dill Pickle - 1 cup diced
Scallions - 7 stalks, including the green tops, chopped
Capers - 2 heaping Tbls Olive Oil - 4 to 6 Tbls, very good quality Salt - 2 tsp
Vinegar - 6 Tbls White Wine Vinegar -or- 7 Tbls Rice Wine Vinegar
Black Pepper - Freshly ground to taste
Dill - 1 tsp of dried Dill
- T o o l s -
Knife, Cutting Board, Potato Peeler, Soft rubber Spatula, Vegetable Brush
Large and small mixing bowls, Measuring Cup & Spoons
Large Pan with lid for boiling the Potatoes, Small one for the Eggs
A nice Serving Bowl and Serving Spoon
- T h e B i g P i c t u r e -
Russian Potato Salad is about as varied as what people call Chili.
Some include meat or fish, others use only mayonnaise instead of sour cream,
still others have an oil base. This one is a festive version as the beets give an
attractive pink glow to the potatoes. It might be a little much if served
on its own, but on the appetizer table it will look great.
This is better made the night before so the flavors have a
little time to marry, it will be enough appetizer for 20+ people.
- T h e B e e t s, E g g s a n d P o t a t o e s -
The day before is the best time to get started on this salad.
Starting with the Beets: cut off the root, stems, and stem area and peel them being careful not to
stain everything. Cut them into small chunks and give them a 12 minute head start in the pot of
boiling salted water, so they will be done when the potatoes are.
Get the 7 Eggs started on their way to being hardboiled. I find that using heavily salted
water for the simmering makes them easier to peel. Which is done by cracking them past
that membrane just under the shell, and cooling them in cold water as soon as the eggs are done.
Once peeled, break the egg in half and take out the yolks and discard them, compost them,
or feed them to a pet. Coarsely chop the Egg Whites and put them in the large mixing bowl.
Store the bowl in the refrigerator when you are not using it.
Regarding the Potatoes: 4 pounds of smallish potatoes will measure between 12 and 14 cups
of raw potatoes, depending on their size. Using your sensibilities, decide to peel or not to peel.
If they are green under the skins, then they must be peeled because that green part is not good
for you. I like to use thin-skinned, scrubbed, organic potatoes and I only peel the funky
looking parts. I also like to coarsely chop the potatoes to the finished size before cooking so
the doneness is easier to control during the gentle boiling. Put the potatoes in the large pot that
already has the beets in it. If you forgot to salt the water, do it now, it should be like ocean water.
Everything should be just covered with water. Gently boil them until they are at the first stage of
tenderness. The redness from the beets will transfer to the potatoes, which is what you want.
If you over-cooked them, rinse them in a colander under cold water to get them to stop cooking.
Otherwise, drain the pot and put the potatoes and beets into the large mixing bowl.
- T h e C u c u m b e r s, H e r b s a n d O i l -
Peel and dice the cucumber/s and add to the large mixing bowl.
Now in a smaller mixing bowl, mix the other ingredients. This will make it such that the
tender vegetables will not get over mixed and turn into muck. To the small mixing bowl,
add 1 cup of diced dill pickle, as well as the 7 chopped Scallions (green onions),
including most of the green tops. Add 2 heaping Tablespoons of Capers from a jar,
add 4 Tablespoons of high quality Olive Oil and the Vinegar of your choice,
I favor the unseasoned Rice Wine Vinegar, the seasoned stuff has salt and sugar.
2 teaspoons of Salt, several twists of Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste,
1 teaspoon dried dill, not fresh dill.
Mix all of this together until well blended. Then gently mix into the
large mixing bowl with a soft rubber spatula being sure to coat every
part of the rest of the salad. If you think the salad is too dry,
you can add the last 2 Tablespoons of high quality Olive Oil. Also when you taste it initially,
it is just fine to think "Oh, there's a little too much vinegar", this is what you want because it
will tame down by the next day. Chill the mixing bowl covered overnight.
- T o T h e A p p e t i z e r T a b l e -
In the morning, transfer the salad to a beautiful white serving bowl, this sets off the
pink nicely. Before you transfer it, taste and make sure everything is right. This is your last
chance to make adjustments. Cover with Saran Wrap and start thinking about what toasts you
want to make... the party awaits.
We would like to thank Darra Goldstein
The author of At the Dacha, Russian Home Cooking
This book is out of print, and it must be loved because it's hard to find used ones,
but she has others. Go to Amazon.com and type in Darra Goldstein in the search box.
We have adapted her recipes here and there, but done under the watchful eye of Andy Zaharoff.