Endlessly riff-able depending on your preference, rasols is more a method than a recipe—but the constants are potatoes, mayonnaise, sour cream, and pickled vegetables. Latvians serve versions of this salad at every occasion, and home cooks adapt based on individual taste and seasonality.
We love this recipe because it touches on nearly all the hallmarks of Latvian cuisine. Potatoes are an easy-to-grow staple served at practically every meal. Pickling preserves vegetables picked in season for enjoyment throughout the year. Mayonnaise and sour cream provide not just flavor, but fat—a holdover from leaner times when workers needed sustenance in the fields. And while Latvian dishes feature few herbs and spices, dill is practically ubiquitous.
In fact, just about the only staple ingredient missing from this recipe is pork. Latvians pride themselves on using all parts of the pig, so most meals focus on some aspect of the national meat. (Even vegetables tend to be cooked in bacon fat, so vegetarians should be wary.) Not surprisingly, many versions of rasols do include pork, so feel free to add cubed ham or sausage—but we think the salad has plenty of flavor without it.
Latvian Rasols (Potato Salad)
Because the potato and egg must be cooled completely before assembling the salad, you might opt to cook them in advance. In this case, skip to step 3 of preparation.
For the salad:
6 Yukon Gold potatoes
4 dill pickles (preferably Polish-style)
1 Persian (seedless) cucumber
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and submerged in acidulated water (water with lemon or vinegar) to keep from browning
For the dressing:
3 heaping Tbsp mayonnaise
2 heaping Tbsp sour cream
2 tsp hot mustard
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp white horseradish
1 tsp minced fresh dill
- In a large saucepan, cover potatoes in cold water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until just fork-tender but not falling apart. Drain and allow to cool.
- At the same time, in a different saucepan, cover eggs with cold water. Once water boils, turn off heat and let eggs stand, covered, for 12 minutes. Drain and run under cold water until cool.
- Meanwhile, chop the pickles, cucumber, and apple into similarly sized pieces.
- Add all dressing ingredients to the bottom of a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Peel and chop the eggs and potatoes.
- Add potatoes, eggs, pickles, cucumber, and apple to the same bowl as the dressing. Stir gently to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper if needed.
Throw your diet out the window and enjoy the local cuisine when you visit Latvia during our Grand Baltic Sea Voyage Small Ship Adventure.