Polish Leek Salad {Surówka z Pora}

Poland depends a lot on the weather and ability to grow fresh fruit and vegetables in season. It’s common knowledge that apples are in season in the late summer/early fall, plums are ready in late July, early August, and most veggies about mid summer. Some veggies will be harvested and stored in cool warehouses, and be available all year around, but most will only make it to our plates and picnic baskets “in season”. Poland imports a lot of the seasonal fruits and vegetables out of season, but everyone knows that those are not as tasty, and relies on their winter stash of canned beets, and other veggies that make it fresh through the winter.

With constant access to such a vast variety of vegetables all year around in America, there is no reason to settle on a lettuce-and-tomato kind of salad all the time. When you go to the grocery store and look around the fresh produce area, pretty much any of those veggies can be turned into a tasty salad. Leek for example. What an under-appreciated vegetable leek is. Not sure why… I think maybe because people just don’t know what to do with it. A lot of people don’t even know what it is, including grocery store staff. Many times I was asked what it was at a check out line. Leeks have a mild, onion-like taste. In its raw state, the vegetable is crunchy and firm, and a bit sharp in taste. For this recipe we soften a bit the tough leaves with hot water to mellow the hardness of  the leaves and sharpness of the taste. They’re a lot more potent in season, but I’ll take what I can get.

Summer months are coming and grilling season’s about to start, this salad will not only be a great addition to your side salad repertoire but will also be a great escape from the predictable and dull mixed greens. I guarantee you’ll be the only one who brings it to a family cook-out, and only one asked for a recipe. Its nice and cool, mildly oniony and sweet and goes well with any grilled meat, eg. shish-kebabs {szaszłyki}, or burgers, or any Polish style dinner, e.g. meatballs {pulpety}, pork ribs in stew {żeberka w sosie}.

Cooling quality of smooth sour cream on a hot summer day will add to the appealing feel of this summer salad, especially paired with spicy food. I hope you try it the first chance you get.

Leek Salad {Surówka z Pora}

  • Yields: 4-5 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min

Ingredients

  • 1 leek
  • 1/2 of a carrot
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon

Instructions

  1. Rinse leek off and peel off a couple of outer layers, if they're dry. They'll be rewashed after slicing, to get rid of some of the dirt that may be on the inside.

  2. Cut off dry ends and thinly slice the rest of the vegetable at a 45° angle - it will look pretty.

  3. Place sliced leek in a coriander and rinse throughly to wash out any dirt or sand that may be remaining. Boil a small pot of water (about 8 cups) and pour over the leek. This will soften the vegetable and take away some of the sharpness. Let drain and cool in the sink.

  4. In the mean time, wash a carrot and an apple and grate both on a largest hand grater (#1 on the photo below). Place in a bowl and immediately stir in sour cream (we don't want the apple turning brown).

  5. Once the leek has cooled off, add to the mixture along with a pinch of salt and pepper and lemon juice. Mix well and refrigerate before serving.

Hand grater:

Do you have any experience with making leek into a salad? If so, please share below in comments.

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