~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Romanian Oriental Potato Salad... or Salata Orientala

Romanian Oriental Potato Salad... or Salata Orientala
I decided to post yet another Romanian dish... a potato salad I made recently. It's an easy salad to make....well, as long as the potatoes and eggs are cooked correctly:). But it's a salad both my husband and I grew up with...and enjoyed very much. We always liked it better when the salad had plenty of olives and eggs. Sometimes I made it a point to choose the eggs and olives over the potatoes.... "fished" them out of the salad when no one was looking... but I was a kid back then:). Now I enjoy the potatoes as well....
I have no clue why the salad is called, Oriental Salad....except that maybe during the earlier, earlier days when the word "orient" would have described what was known as Egypt, Syria and the surrounding areas. The name would then make sense... because of the olives in the salad. Well, that's my explanation anyway:)...
In any case, we LOVE this salad...a rustic-looking one at that...but delicious nonetheless. There's something special about a dish that uses just a few simple ingredients.... and ends up tasting incredible. The flavors of the briny olives, with the onions and eggs make for a different sort of potato salad...a potato salad that's packed with a ton of flavor. And even though we might normally associate a potato salad with mayonnaise... the oil and vinegar dressing is all the salad needs.
I am posting the recipe as I knew it growing up...there might be other versions... some with chopped pickles, other vegetables, with mayo, or even omitting the vinegar. I personally love the tartness of the vinegar, and couldn't possibly omit it. So I usually adjust the oil and vinegar amount according to our tastes. The vinegar tends to mellow out a bit as the salad sits.
Even though this salad is quite simple to make, and I've made it many times, I thought it would be nice to add it to my Romanian section. At the same time, introduce it to those of you who haven't come across it before. This tasty dish can be eaten on its own.... or even used as a side dish. Hope you enjoy...

Note: Feel free to adjust vinegar and oil amounts to preference....you may need to add more or less. The amount also depends on how many potatoes are used....and russet potatoes, in general, tend to absorb more liquid.
~You can opt to use a rice vinegar, which is milder in taste.
~I love the salad the following day...the flavors intensify.

You will need:

4-5 baking potatoes, boiled till fork tender
1/2 of a large red onion, sliced
4-5 hard boiled eggs, sliced, or to taste
1/2 -3/4 cup whole kalamata olives, or to taste
4-6 TBS olive oil, or to taste
4-6 TBS apple cider vinegar, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender, but not falling apart....I used my pressure cooker to do this(about 12-15 minutes or so depending on the size of potatoes). While the potatoes are cooking, cook the eggs until hard.
2. Peel and slice the potatoes while still warm and place them in a large bowl. Drizzle a bit of oil over them( 1 -2 TBS) and toss gently.
3. Slice onion thinly and run hot water over the onion... this is optional, but this step takes the "bite" out of the onions.... add the sliced onion to the potatoes.
4. Add the olives and toss gently to combine.
5. Peel and slice the eggs, and add to the potato salad... you can reserve a few slices for garnish if you like.
6. Mix oil and vinegar( use the lesser amount, as you can always add more oil or vinegar at the end) and pour over the potato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Mix everything gently... trying to keep the potatoes intact as much as possible....the potatoes and eggs will still crumble, but you just don't want a mushy salad.
8. Adjust seasoning... add more vinegar or oil as needed. You want the salad to have some moistness... I find the salad takes in more vinegar than other salads. The salad should have a tinge of tartness. As the salad sits a bit, the potatoes will absorb quite a bit of the dressing.
9. Garnish with extra egg slices/ olives.... and serve warm...or cold.


Andreea said...

hi Ellie :)

love this salad!!

There are two categories of foodies, pasta lovers and potatoe lovers :)) I'm with the potatoes :)

I grew up in the ''judet'' of Harghita under the comunist regime. I remember the 1 month of school since the 5th grade, was on the potatoes field. We were working there 8 hours per day, including Saturdays... and I still love potatoes. :))

have a great weekend!

Mommy Bee said...

This recipe just makes me giddy! I love having an excuse to try something new.. especially with a vinegary base to it. I'm oddly fond of brined, pickled, vinegary goodness! Thank you for posting this!

Speranta said...

Ellie,imi place foarte mult! Salata Orientala...e bine sa mai mancam si fara carne din cand in cand.Multumesc pentru reteta.

O zi placuta iti doresc!

Ellie said...

Hi Andreea! Isn't this salad good?...and so simple.

I only did 1st grade in Romania so I was exempt from the Saturday "volunteer" work days... but I know how you could have easily just not seen a potato ever again:)...
So glad you still enjoy potatoes!

Thanks so much for stopping by... wishing you a wonderful weekend as well!

Mommy Bee, Oh, I am so glad I shared the recipe...at one time I thought it too simple, too ordinary to include it here. Glad you like the sound of it...I'm hoping you can give it a try. Thanks so much for stopping by...Have a great day!

Speranta, Intradevar, este bine sa mai mancam si mancaruri fara carne. Si salata asta este asa buna...ca nici nu simti lipsa carnei:).

Multumesc pentru vizita...si iti doresc si tie o zi placuta!

Ginger Cookies said...

I will try that salad, I like it so much.:)
Thank you.
Kind regards from Bulgaria.

~~louise~~ said...

This Potato Salad reminds me of the Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Salad they make here. (I live in Pennsylvania now but I am from New York:) The only difference I see is the addition of olives which to me is a fabulous addition!

Thank you so much for sharing, Ellie. I've been wanting potato salad so badly. For some reason, I associate it with warm weather which when you think about it is rather silly considering the ingredients!!!

Ellie said...

Hello Veronika:),
I hope you enjoy the potato salad..we like it very much:)! It is easy to make as well...
Sending you warm greetings to you in Bulgaria:)... Thank you for stopping by.

Louise, Yes, I could easily see the Pennsylvanian Dutch having a similar salad... they do have quite a few recipes that are close to many of the Romanian dishes... though a great deal of our recipes have had some outside influence.
I think the olives in this recipe really make this salad...my mom most always used olives with pits...made the dish even more interesting:). And I love adding more olives than normal:).
Hope you can give it a try...and that you enjoy it as much as we do. Thanks so much for stopping by...

Mon said...

Buna Ziua!

So happy to have stumbled across your blog. I moved from Romania at a young age and sometimes get the hankering for Mom's recipes which are quite similar to yours. The only problem is she cooks romanian style...so no recipes to be had.

Thanks for posting all these childhood faves :)

Ellie said...

Buna Mon, You are welcome, so glad you stopped by. I am glad I could be of help and hopefully you can try to bring back those memories through a dish or two... just adjust to taste:).
Cooking Romanian style allows you to change ingredients, seasonings to preference... that's the beauty of cooking at home:).
Enjoy your visit here... and thanks again for stopping by to say hello.

Constantina said...

My Mom made this all the time, but I tend to over boil the potatoes...it's soooooo tasty!!!!

Ellie said...

Constantina, Yes, this salad is so delicious:)! Even when the potatoes are a bit softer, it's still tasty. Thank you for stopping by and sharing... really appreciate it. Mom's cooking is the best:)...

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite dishes! Yours looks delicious -ioana

Ellie said...

Ioana, Yes... love this dish! And thank you for your kind comment:).