Seven-Layer Russian Salad
Photo: Jennifer May
As folksy, cheerful and totable as it is, a stacked salad is the opposite of trendy; it's not something you make to match contemporary cravings, but rather something you remake, one foot anchored someplace else.
Note: Here's my recipe for mock-homemade mayo, a timesaver... To 2 cups Kraft Homestyle or Hellmann's mayonnaise add: 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, and a hefty pinch each of salt and pepper.
Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium (10 ounces) beets
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 small (8 ounces) Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 large carrots, halved
  • 8 large eggs
  • 11/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 five-ounce cans tuna, packed in olive oil
  • Sweet paprika, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions


Preheat the oven to 350°.

Slice 1/2 inch off the top of the head of garlic and put the head in the center of a piece of foil. Top with the tablespoon of olive oil, wrap up the sides of the foil to make a packet and bake the garlic until soft and fragrant, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, push the garlic cloves from their skin and mash with the side of a knife. Set aside.

Put the beets in a saucepan and add water to cover by a couple of inches. Generously salt the water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Partially cover and simmer until the beets are tender, about 45 minutes, depending on their size. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, twist them one by one in a paper towel to rub off the skin.

Fill another saucepan with water and add the potatoes. Season with salt, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook just until easily pierced, about 25 minutes. Lift out the potatoes with a slotted spoon. Add the carrots to the water and simmer until they're just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Lift out.

Add the whole eggs to the water, and simmer for 3 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat and let them sit in the water for 10 minutes. Drain, crack the eggshells and cover again with cold water. Peel the eggs underwater.

Place the peas in a bowl and leave them to thaw.

Meanwhile, make the mayonnaise: In a medium bowl combine the egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, the mustard, the honey, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Combine the canola oil and the remaining 3/4 cup olive oil in a spouted measuring cup and begin adding the oil drop by drop, whisking constantly, forming a smooth emulsion. When it gets thick, add 1 teaspoon water and continue whisking and dribbling in the oil until the mayonnaise is full and shiny. Add the mashed, roasted garlic and whisk to combine.

To make the salad, drain off any excess oil from the tuna, put it in a small bowl and add 3 tablespoons of the mayonnaise and a good pinch of black pepper. Arrange the tuna in the bottom of a glass bowl.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into very small dice. Dice the carrots the same size and combine the two in a bowl. Add 6 tablespoons of the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and plenty of salt and pepper to taste. Drop the carrot-and-potato mixture over the tuna.

Mix the peas with 3 tablespoons of the mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drop the peas over the potato mixture. Slice the beets thinly and lay them out on a plate. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar.

Arrange the beets in overlapping concentric layers over the peas. Roughly chop the hard-boiled eggs and mix them with 6 tablespoons of the mayonnaise and salt and pepper. Arrange the egg salad over the beets.

Thickly dust the top of the salad with sweet paprika, sprinkle with parsley and serve right away (or refrigerate for up to 2 days).

From The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes (Clarkson Potter) by Amy Thielen.

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