Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Russian Salad - Potato Salad - Carle Olivier Salad

I remember my mom's Russian salad that she used to make back when I lived in Hellas. It was just a great dish. You may say that it was a modified potato salad. It had diced potatoes, carrots, whole eggs, capers, and A LOT of mayonnaise. Here in the US, when I visit supermarkets I always look around at their deli case to see what they have and what ingredients they incorporate in their dishes. A few days ago, I was examining/spying their potato salads and this is what I have to say to them: easy with the mayonnaise. All salads are swimming in mayonnaise.

Please check the Wikipedia page to learn about the history of the Russian salad. The history of this salad is truly riveting.

Fast forward to today in our kitchen here in New York where I was going to make a modified Russian salad.

I got the ingredients for the Russian salad together and I was also going to make bbq beans and a salad with Romain lettuce.

Before starting I sharpened my knife. Always before staring to cook I sharpen my knife(s). Get used to it too and it will always be a pleasure to use your knifes.

Ingredients for the Russian salad.
  • five small-ish potatoes.
  • three carrots
  • three hard-boiled eggs (I used six eggs because I saved three of them to use them at a later date)
  • one small container of capers, drained and washed
  • one small can of peas, drained and washed
  • leftover rotisserie chicken or ham or turkey
  • one large Granny Smith apple
  • four spears, kosher dill pickles, diced
  • 3/4 cup of mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 tablespoon mustard
  • one large mango, if available, or orange

Ingredients for the salad.
  • Romain lettuce
  • one anise bulb
  • two peppers
  • one cucumber
  • one tomato

Ingredients for the beans.
  • one large can of kidney beans, drained and washed
  • two small onions
  • two cups of my modified Neeley bbq sauce
  • four cloves of garlic

For the salad I was going to mix in anise, which is sweet and very aromatic. I already had used the top of the anise in a soup that I had made earlier and now I had the bulb only to use. I sliced the bulb and then diced it and placed it in a sieve for washing. I didn't use any type of onion because I didn't want it to clash with the anise.

 Wash, wash wash...and put aside.

Place the eggs in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pot with the lid. Remove the pot from the heat source and let them stand for 12 minutes. I set the timer and this way I don't forget. After the 12 minutes, I run cold water in the pot and this way I stop the cooking and I let them sit for some more time. After that I peel the cooled-down eggs and set them aside.

In a pot filled with cold water I add the potatoes and carrots (both washed previously well). As you can see I had to cut the carrots in half for them to better fit in the pot. I didn't peel the skin from either to enhance their natural flavors.

It takes about 15 minutes for the potatoes and carrots to cook but you should check if they are done with a fork. If the fork goes in with ease, they are ready.

For the salad you just have to chop the ingredients. Make sure you discard any parts that you wouldn't eat otherwise you will have whining diners.

Take a look at the romaine lettuce that is a little brown. You should cut and discard that part if you want the diners to be satisfied.

Here are the two peppers and tomato ready to be processed. As you can see I chose two different peppers to have a nice mix of colors.

At the same time I check the blog stats. Nice! I do get a lot of visitors every day and this is because the content is fresh and also because I use the correct keywords and titles for every blog entry. So far today I have 47 page views. Sweet!

Here is the chicken I will add to the salad. If you use ham or turkey you will have to cut the pieces small and of uniform size. I used chicken because that is what I have in the refrigerator. 

Of course I had to give Raspy a nice portion of the chicken because she wouldn't leave me alone. She got her little tummy full and then she left me alone. Isn't she a beauty? Look at her. look at her, I tell ya.

For the bbq beans I added two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and got it nice and hot. Then I added the two small onions and the four diced cloves of garlic. I stirred that for three minutes and then added the beans and the bbq sauce. I set the range timer to 60 minutes and I made sure to check the pot every 10 minutes and gave it a good stir.

I diced and peeled the apple...

and also diced the potatoes and carrots. Once the potatoes and carrots were ready I removed them from the heat source cooled them down by running cold water on them and started to process them. Each carrot was sliced in half and then each piece was sliced in thirds, this way each carrot was sliced in sixths. After that I diced the carrot slices. The carrot pieces must be small. The potato can be cut in a little larger pieces but not too large.

I used a large glass bowl and added the cut potatoes, carrots, apple, mayonnaise, mustard, and capers. I mixed all of them well and then I added the peas and I mixed those too.

Here is the salad with all the ingredients.

I cut the three eggs in thirds, and added the sliced mango. It looks scrumptious. The mango was sooooo sweet!

 I added diced chicken on the salad too. You will have to gauge the amount of chicken by the number of diners. In my case I had just two people.

For the regular salad I made a basic thousand island dressing with:
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • grated three kosher dill pickles
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
Here is the table as I had set it...

A small portion of the salad was on the plate, the beans were nice and warm and the Russian salad was ready to be devoured. My wife and I thought that the Russian salad was excellent. The amount of each ingredient was perfect and the bbq beans complemented the Russian salad very well. I also added two containers with our favorite olives to complement the salad.

Good day and good luck.

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