Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Carrot-Mushroom-Potato Salad (Bakonyi Saláta)

**Post Factum:** 
This is one of a series of posts for Vegan MoFo 2010; my theme was a 'Virtual Random Road Trip', where I used random.org's random geographic location generator to select locations around the globe, I then attempted to cook a few dishes from the traditional cuisine of that place. I didn't have a lot of time between generating the locations and coming up with recipes (~ 1 day). So, lacking time to do proper research, I can't vouch for the authenticity of anything I came up with. However, they are what they are, and it was a fun theme. 

The road trip arrives in Hungary today, specifically, to the mountainous Bakonyi region, where I assume this salad...or something similar, hails from. My mom visited Hungary about 15 years ago; she fell in love with Budapest, and while she was there, picked up a Hungarian cookbook:

Obviously geared towards a tourist audience, this book is written in English and has many attractive photos of what I assume are traditional Hungarian dishes. At first, I was going to make a plain Hungarian potato salad, which looks like this in the book:

The presentation looks so attractive to me.

But, I rethought the decision when I saw another salad recipe calling for potatoes, carrots, onions, and mushrooms. It may sound like a slightly odd combo, but the dressing is oil and vinegar (my favorite for any kind of salad), and I imagined it would turn out like marinated mushrooms and veggies. And it did. If you like marinated mushrooms and onions, and you like potatoes and dill, you'd probably like this salad.

The recipe calls for boletus mushrooms, which are probably common in that part of the world. I used some large crimini mushrooms instead.

Bakonyi Saláta, from Hungarian Cuisine, A Gourmet Guide

Makes 8 servings:

1 pound mushrooms (button, crimini, whatever sounds good), sliced
1 large onion (I used a combo of red and yellow), sliced fine
2 large  (or 4 medium) potatoes (whatever kind you like)
2 carrots, sliced
1 bunch fresh dill fronds (~ cup chopped)

4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice ( I like it on the vinegary side)
1 tsp sugar (or other sweetener of choice/or use some seasoned rice vinegar)
salt and pepper taste

(For fat-free version, maybe replace the oil with water and some mustard...use agave or similar for the sweetener, so it "clings" a little to the veggies.)

Boil the potatoes with the skins on until they are soft, but not overcooked (you want them to stay together in the salad.) I usually take them off the heat before they are soft and let them steep for ~10 minutes in the cooking water. About 2 minutes before you take the potatoes off the heat, toss in the carrot slices; this way they blanche a little but keep most of their crispness.

Drain the potatoes and carrots, peel the potatoes if you want or leave the skins on if you like. Cut the potatoes into peices and toss in a large bowl with carrots, mushrooms, onions, dill. Mix the salad dressing ingredients together and toss with the potatoes and vegetables. Allow to marinate for at least 2 - 3 hours; overnight is better in my opinion.

Technically, the recipe says to chop the vegetables into small peices, but I left mine in big chunks. It's up to you. Also, the recipe didn't call for the paprika over the top, but I (perhaps a bit heavy-handedly) went for it anyway.

Back tomorrow with some soup.


  1. Your arrangement is gorgeous. You should be a food stylist! (You must have a lot more light on your side of the lake. :D)

  2. This sounds like a really good, hearty salad - and I don't think you can go wrong with a dusting of paprika. I'm surprised the cookbook didn't mention that! I had a friend who did a study abroad year in Hungary and brought everyone back paprika. Too bad I wasn't cooking much back then.

  3. Oh beautiful! I'd say better than the recipe in the cookbook. Yours looks more hearty and colorful!

  4. love that eathenware bowl you used in the outside shot. the first picture looks way too pretty and artistic to eat! gald you chose this salad.

    two weeks left of mofo!! keep up the good work:) lol thats to cheery sounding even for me.

  5. I second the "keep up the good work" sentiment!

  6. Oh, this is so much fun! I love all the effort you are putting into this. I like the simplicity of this salad but also the fact that it's a bit different from the usual potato salad. How fortunate that your mom had purchased that cookbook years ago! Little did you know that you'd be featuring it on your blog.

  7. Andrea

    Thanks Andrea! :) I've actually been getting up early and cooking before work, so I can get pics in daylight...it's already dark when I get home from work now...the good thing about that is dinner's all set when I get home. Our sun porch is a good place for it because the ceilings and walls are all window glass, and light comes in from all sides.


    I know right? You would have thought they would call for paprika...a lot of the recipes in the book do, buy not this one.


    Thanks, it did turn out nice and hearty...I'll be packing for lunch all week probably.

    Dirty Duck

    Thanks for the encouragement...blogging so much doesn't come naturally to me, so your cheers from the sidelines really do cheer me on!

    Thanks about the bowl too; I found it at garage sale, and was quite pleased with it.

  8. Jenny

    Thanks! You too! :)


    Glad you're having fun...I am too. I just wish I had more time to research the different cuisines. Yeah, who knew? When I told my mom I was looking for some Hungarian recipes, she reminded me that she had that book.

  9. Kudos for making something other than Goulash!

  10. Shen

    lol, i know that's what you immediately think of isn't it? That's why I didn't want to do couscous in Algeria...

  11. I like the big chunks, they show a mighty spirit, and the peppy leaf of lettuce peeking out. What everybody else said about the presentation, it's lovely, and the bits of garden showing still look pretty good too!

  12. Sorry I'm late (pant, pant), my passport had expired and by the time I got a new one (pant, pant), the Magic MoFo Amphibious Biodiesel Bus had left Algeria for Hungary! I ran/swam/ran all the way (pant, pant) and am starving now! You don't happen to have a big bowl of chunky potato salad laying around, do you?

    Oh, lookee!!! Can I have it? :-)

    I don't have much to add to all the kudos (which I second - or third!) you've already gotten on this, except to ask what wonderful thing we did to deserve TWO potato and mushroom-containing recipes in a row? Whatever it was, yay us! :-)

    How fortuitous that your mom had once brought home a cookbook from one of your random roadtrip countries! What are the chances? (Well, 100% in this case, apparently! LOL)

    I have several ideas for oil-free dressings that sound like they'd go very nicely with this (and I appreciate your including ff tips with your recipes!)

    I'm still astounded this recipe didn't call for paprika! By the way, did you use Hungarian paprika? :-)

    Thanks for another stunning recipe! I'm off to explore more of Hungary now before I get any further behind!

  13. Zoa

    Yeah the big chunks were definitely the mood I was in...in looking through some pics on the web, I see that this type of salad is oven chopped much smaller...which is probably yummier because there will be more sides of everything to marinate.


    Lol, I love the biodiesel bus...I especially like that it's unsinkable, which I imagine comes in handy in certain situations.

    You should post some of your ff dressing recipes too, if you weren't planning on it already...I often eat salad with vinegar and black pepper, no oil, but J likes his oil on stuff...I imagine there are many tasty ways to make a dressing w/o oil...oil/vinegar on salad is just what I grew up with, so I'm partial...but I like the vinegar part most! :)

    Actually on the Q-T, I'm using Spanish paprika, which is said to be less full-bodied than Hungarian paprika, but it's all good to me.

  14. That's definitely a bus that's up to the job of hauling all of us, our luggage and your cooking implements (and let's not forget the ubiquitous bird figurines) all over the globe! :-)

    I'd post those ff dressing recipes, but none of them are mine. Most of the ones in my stash were found on FFV and Dr. McDougall's site, with a few others found elsewhere. We almost always just put tamari and lemon juice on our salads. Great taste, lousy blog fodder! :-)

    This is the dressing I thought would go well with your potato salad. What do you think?

    And your Spanish paprika secret is safe with me! (I've had some Hungarian paprika in my cupboard for some time now that I have yet to use!) :-)


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