‘Vinegret’, which is not a salad dressing

Please do not confuse with the word ‘vinaigrette’! Vinegret is one of the Russian/Latvian vegetable salads and there are different versions why it’s called so. It can be just because the word was brought from French language (like many other words!) and ‘Russianfied’ or it can be used as a metaphoric description of miss-mash things.

This salad was particularly popular during Soviet times when it was hard to come across fresh fruits and veg, so people used more tinned produce being easier to find and stayed fresh longer. However, although you can easily get fresh vegetables now, don’t consider to swap with fresh peas, use the tined garden peas for an authentic taste.

As well as usual boiled potatoes, carrots, beets, garden peas and gherkins, some variations of vinegret contain sauerkraut. Personally, I like it this way but if you don’t or simply can’t get hold of sauerkraut, you can leave it out. Traditionally salad is served with rye bread and some sort of meat or fish, like cold cuts, sausages or herring.

You can double the ingredients for bigger crowd. Also, this salad is great to cook in advance, not only it can save you time, the taste will only improve if you leave it over night.

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VINEGRET

Ingredients:

1 pack of cooked beetroot (but NOT in vinegar)

3 potatoes

3 carrots

1 tin garden peas

1 cup drained sauerkraut

3-4 pickled gherkins

1/2 onion finely diced

2-3 tablespoons sunflower (or vegetable) oil

salt/peper to taste

handful of fresh cranberries (optional, but good addition, specially during Christmas season)

Method:

1. Wash, but do not peel the potatoes and carrots, place them in a pot of cold water, bring it to the boil, reduce the heat and continue cooking them for about 30 minutes or until the knife goes smoothly through the vegetables. Let it cool completely before peeling the skin off and dice them.

2. Meanwhile diced in roughly equal size cubes of the beets, mix them with a spoon of the oil before adding the rest of the ingredients (this way beetroot colour won’t get on other ingredients as much),then add diced gherkins, onion, place in a bowl along with drained peas. When potatoes and carrots are cool completely, peel the skin off, dice them same way, in cubes and add to the bowl, followed by sauerkraut.

3. Mix it all carefully with the rest of the oil, salt and pepper. At this stage you can always add more gherkins or sauerkraut, if you wish. Adjust seasoning and garnish with handful of fresh cranberries for an extra kick. 🙂

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