You can find 1000+ of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch nearly 100 of my Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. Have fun!


~Russian Red Salad: Potato, Beet, Onion & Radish~

IMG_1335It's 'that' time of year here in Central PA:  Mid-August.  Joe's two vegetable gardens are gifting me with almost more produce than I can process.  His cucumbers, Summer squash and zucchini are finally starting to wane,  tomatoes and peppers are going to take up a lot of my time next week, and at present, I'm looking at a few bunches of freshly-picked radishes and red beets!

IMG_1237I've been a lover-of-vegetables my entire life, and, growing up in an Eastern European household, root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, radishes, red beets, parsnips and turnips made regular appearances on our dinner table.  Most kids have to be bribed into eating such "things".  I was not most kids. Perhaps it was just the scrumptious ways my Russian Baba and Tettie (my maternal grandmother and her sister) prepared them that turned me on to their taste and texture!

ImagesA bit about Russian Red:  What is Russian Red?  Well, technically, it is a color, a specific shade of red which formed the background of the Russian flag under iron-fisted communist rule!

In spite of how poor and deprived the Russian population was (and all Eastern Europeans in general), they developed a reputation for their hospitality and generosity to guests, which carries on to this day.  Even the poorest of the people will offer a stranger a crust of bread dipped in oil and/or a few morsels of leftover food.  If you drop in on their family unexpectedly, food is immediately put put on the table, along with a bottle of vodka, a few small plates and some shot glasses.  As a guest, you are expected to take a taste of everything, and, even if you don't drink, take a sip. "Nasdrovia", meaning "to health", is not as much a Russian toast as it is a thank-you to the host and hostess for the food and drink!

IMG_1355A bit about Russian Red Salad:  In an odd sort of way, I liken it to the American chef salad in that, served with some crusty bread, as is, it's hearty enough to be eaten as a vegetarian meal. Personally, I adore it served with roasted chicken to the side or tossed into it!

It's a combination of four root vegetables:

red potatoes, red beets, red onions & red radishes!

PICT3455Salad is an important part of all stages of the Russian meal and fresh vegetables are a prized possession.  Unlike the American chef salad and most American salads, you won't find fragile lettuces in almost any Russian "salat".  Due to Russia's cold climate and short growing season, their salads tend to contain cooked and/or preserved/pickled components, including eggs or pickled eggs.  Russian salad tends to be an appetizer, a side-dish or a meal that is stirred together, layered or composed, which will hold-its-own in the refrigerator for a few days!

IMG_1258For the salad:

2  pounds small, new red potatoes, unpeeled and sliced into chunky but bite-sized halves, thirds or quarters (about 6 generous cups of potatoes)

1  tablespoon sea salt, for salting the water potatoes get simmered in

3/4  cup thinly-sliced/shaved red onion (about 1 medium onion)

3/4 cup thinly-sliced/shaved red radishes, circles cut into half-moons (about 3 large radishes)

12  whole picked red beets, each sliced into 4 wedges (48 wedges)

6  extra-large hard-cooked eggs, pickled eggs, or a combination of both, each peeled and sliced into 6 wedges (68 wedges)

IMG_1266For the caper-dill dressing:

1/2  cup mayonnaise

2  tablespoons capers, well-drained 

2  tablespoons minced, fresh dill

1/2  teaspoon sugar

1/4  teaspoon sea salt

1/4-1/2  teaspoon white pepper

For topping and garnish:

freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend

dill sprigs, for garnish

IMG_1251~ Step 1.  In a 5-quart stockpot bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add the salt.  Add the potatoes.  When water returns to a steady simmer, adjust heat and simmer until potatoes are al dente, or just slightly less than fork tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Drain into a colander and rinse under cold water to halt cooking process and return to room temperature.  Allow them to "surface dry" in colander, 20-30 minutes.

6a0120a8551282970b019102066fb1970c-800wi~ Step 2.  Prep the red onion, red radishes and red beets as directed. Set aside.

~ Step 3.  Peel and wedge 6 eggs according to the directions in my post ~ A Little Thing Called:  How to Hard-Cook an Egg ~.  You can find it by clicking on the Related Article link below.  Note:  If you want to add pickled eggs to this salad, you'll have to make them 1-2 days ahead of time.  The Cook's Note at the end of this post shows tells you where to find my recipe!

IMG_1280 IMG_1273                                               ~ Step 4. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all ingredients for the dressing.  Set aside, 5-10 minutes, to give the flavors time to marry.  

Note:  Avoid the urge to add more mayo to this intense-flavored dressing -- a little goes a long way!  

IMG_1291 IMG_1284~ Step 5. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the potatoes, onions and radishes, until all ingredients are evenly coated in the dressing.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well-chilled or serving time, 2 hours to overnight.

~ Step 6.  Transfer the potato salad mixture to a large serving platter, or individual serving plates.  Arrange red beet wedges and egg wedges over the top, sprinkle with freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend, and, garnish with a few sprigs of fresh dill.  Wait until you taste this:

IMG_1328Russian Red Salad:  Potato, Beet, Onion & Radish:  Recipe yields 8-12 side-dish servings and 6 entree servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 5-quart stockpot; colander; spoon; large rubber spatula; plastic wrap

IMG_1219Cook's Note:  If you'd like to make my Russian Red Salad adding another "red" ingredient, you can find my recipe for ~ Pretty in Pink: Pickled Eggs ~ in Categories 1, 4 or 12.  These are a common appetizer  on the Russian table!

"We are all in this food world together. ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment