Carrot And Red Currant Salad

This salad is a modern take on a classic North European winter salad. If you have been around Scandinavia or Russia north of Pskov, you may have seen the original. The original is made from carrots, European cranberries and horseradish and is usually used as one of the options to go along with Vodka. While you can get the horseradish in a supermarket, the cranberries are generally not available unless you go to Finland or Russia and collect them yourself. No, do not look at disbelief at what you just read, just read it carefully again. The original needs EUROPEAN Cranberries. These are the real deal which you can get only out of a Russian or Finnish swamp. They are not the American cultivated junk which can be used only for sauce and juice.

When the first Russian colonists came in the late 18th-early 19th century to what is today's Alaska, Washington and Northern California, they came across the American cranberry. Their tales of wonders from the New World and that Cranberry is a tree are synonymous with a "Blatant Lie" in Russian. The colloquial saying in Russia for a "Big Fib" is "Развесистая Клюква" which approximately means "Cranberry is a Tree". Well, the New World one is. The Old world ones are a crawling swamp bush 20cm tall. They are also completely different - the old world cranberry is extremely sour, soft, small and highly aromatic. Most importantly for us - you will not find them in a shop or a market stall (unless you are somewhere in Northern Russia).

So we have to use the closest possible replacement - supermarket Red Currants. Red Currants can reach some degree of sweetness in the strong sun of Southern Europe, so the fact that we are buying the supermarket junk grown somewhere in Britain or Holland works in our favour - it is the closest we can get to the taste and flavour of the original European cranberry without having to order some from Finland or Russia. I have replaced the horseradish as well. While it is easily attainable, it is not to everyone's taste and was used in the original because it was the only hot spice available in Northern Europe. We have much better options today.

Ingredients - appetizer or side dish for 8-12 people

  • 1 kg of carrots
  • 100 g of red currants
  • 3 lemons
  • White Pepper

Preparation

  • Grate the carrots (it is always better if carrots are freshly grated - they oxidize in air and the taste suffers). I usually do several kg at a time as this can be combined into a single pipeline doing the Carrot Mash and Radish And Carrot Salad

  • Add the red currants
  • Squeeze 3 lemons into the mix, it's ok to add the lemon pulp if the seeds have been separated
  • Add a few pinches of white pepper and mix until the salad feels spicy to your taste

Serve

Serve as a side dish. It is also OK to store for 3-5 days in the fridge. The lemon juice is a strong preservative and anti-oxidant, it will not go bad easily.

Do Nots

  • DO NOT use American pseudo-cranberries, especially cultivated varieties available in supermarkets. Either red currants or the real deal (if you can get it). Black currants also work.
  • DO NOT add oil of any type or vinegar - the lemons more than suffice

-- AntonIvanov - 09 Feb 2017
Topic revision: r1 - 09 Feb 2017, AntonIvanov

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