My family does not distinguish between “food actually consumed by people who live in Slovenia” and “foods we eat at Slovenian holiday parties in the US.” Maybe there isn’t a difference between the two, or, more likely, maybe only two members of my family (sadly, not me, at least not yet) have ever actually visited Slovenia so our American-Slovenian culinary experiences far outnumber our authentically Slovenian ones. Either way, I look forward to someday finding out if the things we call “Slovenian chicken” (which I think is… roasted chicken?) and “Slovenian Salad” (iceberg lettuce in oil-and-vinegar dressing) are actually enjoyed on a regular basis by my distant relatives overseas.
Given this family-wide habit of calling foods “Slovenian” when they may just be, um, “food,” I did not expect Slovenian Potato Salad to be a real thing. The way I’ve always prepared it is super-simple and for that reason I assumed it was just something my mom made up to appease her mayo-hating kids.
(Because – yuck – if you don’t like mayonnaise, is there anything worse than seeing that bowl of creamy potato salad sitting out in the hot sun at summer parties?)
Since it is going to be three thousand degrees this weekend in many parts of the country, with enough humidity to bend graham crackers and roof shingles into damp submission, resulting in a heat index of eleventy forty-hundred millennia,* and I don’t want you to accidentally poison your loved ones with warm mayonnaise, it seems like a good time to share this recipe. Below are the two versions I found in my 1999 copy of More Pots & Pans. It even has a Slovenian name, Krompirjeva solata (literally, “potato salad.”
My mom’s version is more along the lines of Mary Marolt’s (No. I) but even easier. I’ve done my best to write it for you below. FOUR INGREDIENTS (six if you count salt and pepper). You could have this on the table just after the potatoes are cooked or, for even better flavor, allow it to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours (better yet: overnight). You can really use any kind of potato for this, though my personal favorite are small redskins. I used this basket of tiny potatoes the last time I made this, and they were perfect! Even though some of the smallest ones were truly bite-sized, I sliced them in half so the cut sides could absorb more dressing.
Slovenian Potato Salad No. III
- approximately 2 pounds of potatoes, washed but unpeeled
- one bunch of green onions (less if you aren’t crazy about onions), sliced (green and white parts)
- 1/4 cup vinegar (I prefer white or apple cider)
- 1/4 cup oil (I usually use olive oil)
- salt and pepper, to taste
Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Rinse under cold water and, when cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces. Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in the bottom of a medium-sized bowl. Add potatoes and green onions, and stir to combine. Season again to taste. May be served immediately, or chill in the refrigerator a few hours or overnight. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor!
(This recipe is very easy to make smaller or larger, since the dressing is really just a 1:1 oil:vinegar ratio. Experiment as needed!)
*Sorry, talking about weather again.