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.