Fresh Polish-Style Salads
By Robert Strybel
The Polish Chef
Poles may not be big salad eaters like the French or Italians, but they do have a number of tasty, easy-to-prepare favorites:
CUCUMBERS & SOUR CREAM (mizeria): Peel 2 nice-sized cucumbers and slice into thin rounds. Sprinkle with salt and a bit 1 t sugar and 1 t lemon juice and toss. Fork-blend ½ – ¾ c sour cream and pour over cucumbers, Serve immediately./Optional: intersperse 1 small, thinly sliced onion. Garnish with fresh chopped dill if desired..
CUCUMBERS & VINAIGRETTE (mizeria z vinegretem): Slice, salt and drain cucumbers as above. Toss with 1-2 small onions sliced thin and broken up into rings. Dress with vinaigrette (see below) to taste.
VINAIGRETTE (winegret): To prepare slightly more than 1/2 c vinaigrette dressing, combine 1/3 c cider or white wine vinegar with salt & pepper to taste, 1-2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 t sugar and (optional) 1 t Provençal or Italian seasoning. Mix well and stir in 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil or canola oil.
LETTUCE SALAD, POLISH STYLE (zielona sałata po polsku): For a genuine Polish-style salad, select Boston or bib lettuce (rather than iceberg, leaf, romaine or other varieties). Twist off and discard the core that holds the leaves together. Separate the leaves and wash well, dry on paper towel and place in shallow serving dish. (Polish style-lettuce salad is not ordinarily served in deep salad bowls.) If the leaves are quite long, tear each into 2 or 3 pieces. To dress 2 small to medium heads lettuce, fork-blend 2/3 – 3/4 c sour cream with juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 t salt and 1 t sugar and pour over lettuce. Variations: 1) after dressing the lettuce decorate the top with 2 sliced hard-cooked eggs; 2) scatter 8 – 10 thinly sliced radishes over the lettuce before or after dressing with sour-cream sauce; 3) scatter 4 – 5 chopped green onions over lettuce before or after dressing; 4) garnish the basic recipe or variants 1-3 with chopped chives.
SCALDED LETTUCE SALAD (sałata parzona): Core, wash and dry 3-4 small heads of Boston lettuce. Break up leaves into salad bowl. In skillet fry 1/8 lb diced pork fatback into golden-brown nuggets, stir in 1 t sugar, 1 t salt (if using unsalted fatback) and about 4 T cider vinegar. Immediately drench lettuce with hot, sizzling mixture and toss to coat leaves evenly.
TOMATO SALAD (sałatka z pomidorów): Wash and slice 2-3 firm tomatoes and arrange on large serving dish in a single layer. Chop 1 med onion fine. Salt & pepper tomatoes and sprinkle with a little lemon juice. Sprinkle salad with chopped chives or green onions. Dress with vinaigrette. It can also be dressed with liquefied (fork-blended) sour cream.
SPRING-ONION SALAD (surówka ze szczypioru): Wash well, drain and chop 4 bunches of green opinions. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and drench with sour-cream sauce as in lettuce Polish style (above). 2-3 diced hard-cooked eggs may be added.
RADISH SALAD (surówka z rzodkiewek): Trim if necessary, wash, dry and slice thin (with knife or on slicer blade of hand-held grater) 2 -3 bunches radishes. Place in serving dish and toss with finely chopped fresh dill. Salt, sprinkle with 1 T sugar and drench with c fork-blended sour cream.