The history of potato salad—do you know where the popular Christmas Eve treat came from?
Who does not know the traditional potato salad?
It is part of the Christmas Eve table, but in some households, it is also served on other festive occasions and for rare visitors. This popular dish carries with it the mystery of its origin, the roots of which are not clear. Some sources claim that its traditions arose, for example, in Russia. But it is certain that the tradition of potato salad has gained great popularity.
From waffles to potato salad
Today, we would hardly be able to imagine a Christmas Eve dinner without potato salad. But, indeed, this delicacy was not always part of the Christmas table. It gained its inherent place only after the Second World War, in the 1950s. Until then, it was replaced by more modest dishes, which he does not even remember today.
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Crispy wafers dipped in honey and garlic started the festive dinner, followed by a soup with fried peas, mushrooms, and lentils as a second course. The rural population also feasted on a heartier dish known as black cuba, based on a mixture of groats and mushrooms.
A novelty in the form of carp, the preparation of which we still know today, spread in the cities. Until then, fish was prepared the “black way” with ingredients such as red wine, gingerbread, prunes, almonds, and walnuts.
Russian salad from a Belgian chef
In Moscow in the 1860s, a Belgian chef opened the luxurious French restaurant Hermitage. He often prepared festive banquets for the Moscow oligarchs, and in one of his experiments, he prepared a rich salad-like plate. The version back then differed from today’s in terms of ingredients in a big way. You could enjoy pieces of partridge breast, quail, and shrimp tails wrapped in gelatin and mayonnaise, potatoes, and truffles, cucumbers, and eggs.
In Domácí kučářka from 1826, Magdaléna Dobromila Rettigová in Bohemia first mentioned potato salad, which even then did not show the form it has today. The salad did not contain root vegetables but was rich in mayonnaise and leftovers from various dishes.
The first recipe for fried carp together with potato salad did not appear in Czech cookbooks until 1924.
For a modern Christmas table
Do you want to revive the tradition this year and surprise your loved ones with a new version of the main Christmas course? The winning Pánk’s master salad from 2017 will guarantee you the admiration of the whole family. In order to save energy for preparing food, forgive yourself for lengthy shopping and use the convenience of having your shopping delivered (e.g. Foodora) to your home. To prepare the salad, use this recipe:
What you will need:
- 2 kg of potatoes A
- 4 carrots
- 1 yellow, red, and white onion
- 3 shallots
- 2 deli onions
- 5 sterilized cucumbers
- 1 red pepper
- 4 eggs,
- 8 quail eggs
- 3 stalks of celery stalks
- 2 apples of different varieties
- 5 spoons of green peas
- 4 spoons of mayonnaise
- 4 tablespoons of tartar sauce
- 2 tablespoons of full-fat mustard
- salt, pepper, honey
A week in advance, blanch the red capsicum with boiling water and leave it marinated in a pickle to “stretch” the flavor. Boil the potatoes the day before in salted water, cooking type A is best. After cooling, cut into cubes. Add the cooked carrot, onion, pickled capsicum, celeriac, and diced cucumbers and peas.
Allow the boiled chicken and quail eggs to cool and, after cleaning, cut them on a string slicer, add the quail eggs to decorate the portions. Prepare the sliced apples just before mixing so they don’t brown. Finally, add salt, pepper, mayonnaise, tartar sauce, mustard, a few drops of honey and mix carefully.