I could write a whole book on my experiences with Piedmontese food…the good and the bad. Let’s just say that despite the delicacies like exquisite truffles and barolo, I am not a big FAN! You might be saying to yourself, “how could this girl be dissing Italian food?” Well, I have learned that the variety of food in Italy is very wide, especially when experiencing the different local cuisines of each region. I would have to say that I ended up in the wrong place!
My Piedmontese arch-nemesis is:
INSALATA RUSSA 
Possibly translated as Russian salad? But we are in Piedmont and this doesn’t even exist in Russia!
My struggle with this salad mainly comes from hating mayonnaise, eggs and being vegetarian. As the Piedmontese cuisine is best known for its meats, I am often stuck with even heavier dishes for vegetarian replacements, meaning lots of cheese, flans, sformatos, and INSALATA RUSSA.
Now…first let me explain what insalata russa is: It is kind of like a potato salad but with carrots, potatoes, pickled vegetables, possibly cauliflower and mixed with lots of mayo, tuna and hardboiled eggs.
Even just looking at it on the shelf in the supermarket makes me want to gag! Few pickled veggies and a whole tub of white industrial mayonnaise is what the supermarket version looks like.
The only kind of insalata russa that i can get down, is my mother in law’s homemade one. I can appreciate the fact that she incorporates a large part of her garden veggies and cleans, peels and chops them all into perfect tiny little pieces. She also has to boil the cauliflower for prep and make homemade mayonnaise with eggs from their own hens. The tuna is of high quality and although it sounds like the grossest part it actually fills in the eggy,mayo voids.
mother in-law’s
This week Claudio’s family gave us a HUGE container of Insalata Russa to bring home and eat tête-à-tête. I realized that I should just be honest if I don’t like something as we are now stuck with this salad for lunch and dinner every day! Don’t get me wrong…I appreciate the gesture with all my heart and it is only my fault for not telling it like it is…
I seem to be in the minority on this one so if you ever get a chance to try Insalata Russa…just do it for curiosity and let me know what you think!
I’ll leave you with some hilarious varieties of pics:
colorful peppers version www.solofornelli.it

 

nicely bordered with peas www.xoomer.virgilio.it

 

nicely added shrimp www.agostinielio.com

 

like those cornichons www.ricette.pourfemme.it

 

www.flickr.com

 

www.iriscucina.it
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