Being raised with largely Hungarian cultural ideals, my palate has naturally leaned toward tart flavours. From having homemade pickles to lemon zest being the predominant flavour enhancer to many desserts, to this day, I’ll take something sour over something sweet.
The salads in Hungarian cuisine, again, tend to lean heavily on vinegar for the dressing. Oil was used sparingly since the fats of choice (cream, sour cream, lard) were more in the main courses. In one such dressing that is used for the Hungarian version of coleslaw and a few others, vinegar is prevalent, but also has sour cream. I remember a cucumber salad done with this style of dressing, as well as banana peppers. Tonight, I decided to use another Hungarian staple vegetable, kohlrabi. Its crisp apple-like texture and mild cabbage-like essence makes it perfect for a fresh salad. With the bite of hot Hungarian banana peppers, it becomes the perfect combination!
Kohlrabi and Banana Pepper Salad (Karalabé and Paprika Salata)
For the Sour Cream Dressing:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vinegar (just a regular white vinegar, nothing fancy)
1 Tbsp honey (or sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar and honey until the honey dissolves. Add the sour cream and salt and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
For the salad:
2 cup shaved fresh kohlrabi (just use a vegetable peeler to get thin shavings)
1 large fresh Hungarian banana pepper, sweet or hot (1/3-1/2 cup thinly sliced, seeded)
Reserved Sour Cream Dressing
In a large flat glass dish (like a lasagna pan), spread out the shaved kohlrabi in as close to a single layer as possible. Sprinkle over the sliced peppers.
Pour over the Sour Cream Dressing and press down the vegetables with a flat hand to immerse as much of it as possible. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.
To serve, remove the vegetables from the dressing and divide it over two plates. Spoon over some of the dressing to accent. Serves 2.