Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Russian Salad with homemade mayonnaise


There is not just one Russian salad. We have an expression i n Greece, and use it when we want to say we made a mess of things: “It’s Russian salad”. So, maybe it means the Russian salad is everything mixed together without any particular order.
Well, the idea is that we mix together boiled vegetables and add mayonnaise. It can be found with beets, with eggs, without eggs, and even with some greens. The recipe that follows is the simplest one but is made special by the homemade mayonnaise which has nothing to do with commercial mayonnaise. Neither in colour nor in taste. Contrary to popular belief, making mayonnaise is an extreme sport and is easy to make.
I usually make this salad in the winter and have it as an appetizer. If you drink alcohol, try accompanying it with a shot of iced vodka.

We are going to need:

  • 150 gr Peeled potatoes
  • 150 gr. Peas
  • 150 gr. Carrots
  • 3 tbsps caper
  • 3 pickled cucumbers, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs (cold)
  • 2 tbsps chopped parsley σούπας
  • 1-1 ½ cup mayonnaise
  • salt, pepper

Boil the vegetables al dente. They should retain some crunchiness. Drain well. Chop potatoes and carrots in small squares. Put in large bowl, add the caper, eggs (sliced) and cucumbers. A little before serving add the mayonnaise. Season to taste, Stir everything together but not too vigorously, so that the vegetables stay in one piece. Sprinkle with parsley.

For the mayonnaise

  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 dash of pepper (if you have white pepper, use that)
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 cup quality olive oil (this is very important)
  • 4 teaspoons warm water

Whisk egg yolks, mustard, sugar, pepper and one teaspoon of lemon juice together, until everything looks pale yellow.
Add ¼ of the olive oil, little by little, whisking all the time. It is important that we don’t just pour the olive oil. Add another teaspoon of lemon juice, a bit of warm water and another ¼ cup of olive oil, again slowly but steadily. We whisk all the time. Another teaspoon of lemon juice, some water, and oil slowly but in a steady flow while whisking. Add the remaining lemon juice, water, olive oil as before. If you want it thinner, add a bit of warm water. It’s going to be good for 5 days to one week if you keep it in the fridge.
If you decide to use the blender, add yolks, salt, mustard, pepper, sugar and 3 teaspoons of lemon juice and blend everything together for 15 seconds (low speed).
With the blender always on, slowly add ¼ cup of olive oil and increase speed. It gets thicker and thicker and we add more and more oil and lemon juice (what is left of it), steadily and slowly
The mayonnaise is not going to come out right if:

  1. We pour lots of oil at once
  2. The kitchen is too hot
  3. The eggs are not fresh
  4. The oil is not of good quality

But we are not the kind of people who use second class oil and bad eggs, are we?

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