Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Potato salad, slightly Danish

Taani kartulisalat / Danish potato salad

Potato salad is an Estonian institution, whether you like it or not. I tend to like it, if it's well made.

Until a few years ago you could guarantee that if you were invited to a birthday party, you'd be served kartulisalat. It's pretty close to what's known as Salad Olivier or Russian Salad across the world, though it does taste different. Must the be magic Estonian touch (or the mayonnaise-sour cream dressing) :) I vaguely remember an old joke that any suitable Estonian bride must know a) how to make a good coffee and b) how to make a decent potato salad :D For any larger family gathering, my mum (and all other relatives) would always make a large saucepan-full of potato salad, and we, kids, were often asked to help with the chopping. You see, there's a lot of chopping and mixing involved - a typical Estonian potato salad contains perfectly cubed boiled potatoes (lots of them!), carrots, onions, cucumbers (fresh and/or marinated), as well as apples, green peas, ham/cooked sausages etc - the exact list of ingredients and proportions depend on what's available and personal preferences. I, for example, dislike boiled carrots, apples and peas in my salad, and I never include ham/sausages in the salad if it's served alongside small frankfurters ("viinerid").

However, this summer I discovered a much more minimalist salad that yet manages to deliver the same flavour sensation. The recipe is from a Danish magazine cutting from early 1990s, but adapted heavily over the years. It works well as a quick light meal, or as a side dish to some grilled meat. Recipe below.

Danish potato salad
(Kergelt karrine kurgi-kartulisalat)
Serves 4 as a side dish

Danish potato salad / Taani kartulisalat

600 g potatoes, unpeeled
1 green cucumber

250 g sour cream
250 g mayonnaise
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
0.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

Boil the potatoes (you can do that on a previous day). Cool a little, then peel. Cut into smaller or larger uniform pieces - it's your choice.
Cut the cucumber into small dice, place onto a colander and sprinkle generously with salt. Leave for 15-30 minutes, drain any liquid. (This is not a necessary - or a traditional step - but something I've borrowed from the tzatziki-making process. I love how the cucumbers retain their crunch and the salad doesn't become watery).
Mix all the dressing ingredients, fold in the cubed potatoes and drained cucumbers.


Gitte said...

I have been hunting for a good potatoe salad for a long time now, I will have to try this one :)

Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy said...

When I lived in Russia, we had the Olivier Salad all the time - loved it! I like this simpler version:)

Suzi said...

I do like this potato salad, the sour cream makes it although I would add all the other veggies with it. I like veggies except peas I just don't like them. Very nice recipe!

ChichaJo said...

We also have potato salad in a lot of birthday parties here, although not at all a traditional local dish for us! This is something we borrowed from when the Americans were here I think. What can I say, we are children of many cultures!

I love the dressing on your version though...sour cream and curry powder! Yummy!

Maya@Stories from Emona said...

Greetings from another potato salad lover! :)
I like pairing sour cream (or even creamy yogurt) with mayonnaise, too - it gives it a lighter, refreshing taste.

Steve Millican said...

This posting of your Danish Potato Salad reminded me of a Finnish recipe I used to make decades ago, Sili Salati, or Herring Salad. I got it from some supermarket checkout stand cookbook of the month my mom bought 40 years ago or so. My wife particularly dislikes beets and herring, bo I don't ever get permission to make it any more. It's a heavy salad that could serve as either a light meal or a substantial side dish.

Congratulations on your greatest blog listing.

Pille said...

Gitte - do you recognise this as Danish?

Anne - Olivier Salad tends to be universally popular in this part of the world :)

Suzi - I quite liked the simplicity of this versio, but surely, you can add any other suitable vegs!

Joey - how interesting! Have you blogged about your version yet?? I'd love to see it!!!

Maya - the Russians tend to use just mayonnaise for the dressing, but I love the lighter version! I've used yogurt instead of sour cream as well..

Steve - sillisalaatti is indeed popular in Finland, but it's also extremely popular here in Estonia. We call it rosolje (actually, Finns call it rosolli as well) and it's another favourite on festive tables, alongside the more classical kartulisalat.