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question about a "Russian" dish

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
There is a sort of salad made in italy that is called "Insalata russa" - "russian salad". It is generally made with boiled potato cubes, carrot cubes and peas in mayonnaise. A few times i;ve had it with the addition of beets (which are not particularly liked here, so maybe that;s why it's not so common).
I guess it;s like a kind of potato salad with peas and carrots, and sometimes beets, but heavy on the mayo.
We were talking with friends who had different ideas about the origin of this.
Some said it was not a russian dish at all (sort of like "french dressing" you get in american restaurants, with ketchup in it, which is not french).
Others said it was actually russian (the beets would make me think this) but of course in russia it is not called "russian salad" just as "french fries" are not called "french fries" in france.
Does anyone know if this is actually a russian salad?

Oh, yeah, and someone suggested that it's actually eaten in russia, but is called "italian salad"!
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #2 of 12
My Mother makes this dish, it always went over really well at buffet style parties. She also adds capers to it. Sorry I can't help with the origin but my Mother is 100% greek and she calls it a russian salad as well.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #3 of 12
My husband spent some time in Russia over the last couple of years -- a few times in Novosibirsk, Siberia, once in Moscow. He stayed mostly in "pensions" -- housing connected with the conference center in Novosibirsk where his meetings were held.

When he came home from his first trip, he told me that the "salad" course for lunch and dinner was nothing like he was used to. At home, we always make a big green salad with different leaves, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and so on. The "salads" he ate in Novosibirsk often had no vegetables at all, just cubes of meat, cheese, sometimes mushrooms. On that first trip, the mayonnaise was just plopped on top, and he would knock it off (everyone else -- all Russians -- would mix it through). After the first trip, though, the mayo was mixed in. One of his Russian colleagues said to him, "Aha! They're onto you!" :lol: So yes, they definitely eat that sort of thing in Russia.

The English translator of Eleana Molokhovets's A Gift to Young Housewives (first published about 1861) says the following:

In a note on a menu item, "Vegetable Salad":
As a note on a recipe for "Vinigret," a combination of cooked meat or fish, beets, cucumber, herring, hard-cooked eggs, mushrooms, pickles, potatos, capers, sauerkraut, cooked beans, and olives :crazy: :

"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #4 of 12
post #5 of 12
"As a note on a recipe for "Vinigret," a combination of cooked meat or fish, beets, cucumber, herring, hard-cooked eggs, mushrooms, pickles, potatos, capers, sauerkraut, cooked beans, and olives :

Never had it but, ya'know, that doesn't sound too bad!

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #6 of 12
This salad is almost a carbon copy of the French Macadeonne of Vegetables which used to be put in Timbals or hollowed out tomatoes or artachoke bottom for garnish around assorted cold platters. Someone added diced taters and a garnish of julianne of beets and optional diced meat and made it into a entree salad. You can do a lot with it.
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
wow, thanks for the various replies. I knew i'd get the info from you guys.
siduri
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #8 of 12
So what mayonnaise dressing do you use? I suddenly have a craving for it.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #9 of 12
Siduri" A Question

Fettuccini as well as all Alfreddo Dishes are popular here in US. When I went to Italy I had it, and if I remember correctly it was only Heavy cream, S&P Reggianno and the yolk of an egg. Most places here do not add the egg. So then is it with the egg the real correct way??? Thanks . Edb:roll:
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post #10 of 12
Most of their salads seem to be dressed with mayo.

The Ukrainians that I know refer to salat olivier as diced boiled potatoes with pickles, peas, boiled eggs, and sausage or boiled meat and mayonnaise garnished with dill or parsley.

Another popular one is the layered salad "shouba" that has diced boiled potatoes, onions, pickled herring, boiled grated beets with dill.

And one I can't remember the name but love is with boiled grated beets, walnuts, dill and pickles.

I love Russian food :smoking:
Necessity is the mother of invention.
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Necessity is the mother of invention.
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post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi Ed,
When i was in high school in the states, (back in the 60s), fettuccine alfredo were very popular. My friend lived next door to a guy who nwas friends with the actual Alfredo from Rome. (Although there are two restaurants, and i guess two alfredos who both claimed to be the original). He came over as a guest of these neighbors and they had a party where alfredo showed everyone how to make his famous fettuccine. I was a kid and not invited, but my mother went and i remember how she and my friend's mother said they were made - and we had them at home after that too.
You put the hot, drained pasta back in the pot with an egg, butter and parmigiano. No cream. You mix it with the residual heat of the pasta, nothing more, and serve immediately.,
It's actually like a carbonara, except no pancetta and with butter.
But there was no cream. The creaminess is given by the half-cooked egg and the butter.
That said, i've spoken to many romans, and no one, i mean NO one, has ever heard pf fettuccine alfredo, and many were disgusted when i described it (italians can be very picky about eating only the thinhgs they grew up with) - some horrified at putting egg on what is already pasta with egg in it. I can't imagine two restaurants in the same area in a city can possibly survive on a dish only served to tourists, so maybe i don;t know the right people. But the fact remains that no one I know has ever heard of it. My father in law said that it couldn;'t be an italian recipe, because no one would put egg on egg pasta (carbonara is made with regular pasta, not fettuccine) "it makes no sense" he said, "it;s too rich" and "it';s an 'americanata" (an american thing).

Oh, and probably the egg is not used in the states as much because of the risk of salmonella, since if you cooked the egg thoroughly the dish would not be very good, it would be like overcooked scrambled eggs and pasta. I don;t hear much about salmonella here, and don;t know if it's because the eggs are less likely to have it, or if they don;t make a big deal about it. I know that pork is all and has always been all tested for trichinosis, so can be eaten raw or undercooked (prosciutto is raw ham, and called "prosciutto crudo" here - meaning literally "raw ham" - not very appealing! - and what we call ham is called "prosciutto cotto" - cooked ham).
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #12 of 12
Interesting thank you
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