I don’t have to explain to you how smells and flavours can take you right back to your childhood, and that is exactly what this dish does for me. My mum used to make this Russian salad, or koude schotel, as we call it, on warm summer days and on campsites in, invariably, France. Preparing and eating this dish alway brings back those summers.
I think for most western vegetarians, giving up meat also means giving up a few family classics. Yes, you can substitute a lot of things but grilled spare ribs are grilled spare ribs and, so I assumed, Russian beef salad is Russian beef salad. Turns out I was wrong. This salad, which is originally made with corned beef, evokes the same memories without meat. And the Eastender, who was never a fan of my family’s beloved koude schotel, loves this vegetarian version.
Like I said, this is mainly a summer dish for me but you can make it any time you are looking for an easy, tasty and cheap meal, with plenty left over to put in your sanwiches the next day.
– 700 g potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered, depending on size. I use red-skinned potatoes.
– 1 large onion, chopped neither finely nor roughly (Did you just roll your eyes at me?!)
– 1 apple, peeled and chopped into smallish bits. I prefer Granny Smith.
– 150 g gherkins, chopped into smallish bits
– 1 400 g can Macedonische groente. This is the Dutch name, I saw Green Giant sell something called ‘vegetable blend’. Mixed tinned veg is what you’re after.
– about 250 ml/1 cup salad cream, or to your liking. Enough for a light coating.
– 1 scant tsp of sweet paprika
tinned/bottled asparagus (optional)
– Boil the potatoes until just cooked, about 15 minutes, depending on size. You’ll want to dice them, so don’t overcook.
– Let cool, then dice.
– Mix all the ingredients, except the eggs, pearl onions and asparagus together in a big bowl.
– Chill in the fridge until stone cold.
– Serve with the eggs, etc, as I’ve suggested, or whatever you like.