Russian RecipesBack in the U.S.S.R.
The vodka-fueled White Nights of St. Petersburg’s short summer insist on plenty of breaks for meals, so our menu is straight from the Cold War kitchen. Whether you’re delving into Dostoyevsky, watching reruns of the 1980 Olympic hockey win, engaging in general spy tradecraft, or taking bets on whether Putin will ever return that Super Bowl ring, these dishes will bring you back to the U.S.S.R. in no time.
After enough shots of this, differentiating between St. Petersburg, Florida and its Russian counterpart might become, well, challenging.
Add horseradish and vodka to a large, airtight container. Allow mixture to stand at room temperature for 2–3 days. Strain mixture through cheesecloth, return to airtight container, and refrigerate. Vodka will keep for 2 months in refrigerator.
These bright, crunchy vegetables are a welcome counterpart to the rich dishes designed to sustain diners through St. Petersburg’s long, cold winters.
Bring vinegar, sugar, water, peppercorns, and mustard seeds to a boil in a small pot. Remove from heat. Add carrots, cauliflower, red pepper, and shallots to an airtight container. Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Pickles will keep for 1 week in refrigerator.
Inspired by St. Petersburg’s role as Window to the West, we’ve added a contemporary twist to a classic.
Yield: 4 servings
Add butter and leeks to a pan on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add beets and vegetable stock. Add 1–2 cups of water, until beets are totally covered by liquid. Bring to a boil. Cook beets until a knife can pierce through easily, about 20 minutes. Strain, reserving cooking liquid. Add beets and 1 cup reserved liquid to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Puree beets, adding additional liquid if needed. Return beet sauce to pan, and add sour cream, dill, and chives. Mix well, and keep warm.
Pat halibut dry, and season with salt and pepper. Add oil to a pan on medium high heat. Sear halibut until just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with sauce.
After a piping hot bowl of this decadent dish, all that needs to be said is spasiba (thank you).
Yield: 4 servings
Add 1 tablespoon butter to a pan on medium heat. When foam subsides, add onions, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, 8–10 minutes. Remove from pan, and reserve. Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan with mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are golden brown, 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and reserve. Add 2 tablespoons butter to pan. When butter is melted, add flour. Stir mixture, and cook 1 minute. Add stock and cognac to pan, whisking constantly. In 3–4 minutes, when mixture is thick and smooth, add sour cream. Whisk well, and remove from heat. Add reserved onions and mushrooms to pan with sauce, and mix.
Pat beef dry, and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon oil to a pan on medium-high heat. Add beef, and cooked until browned on all sides, 3–4 minutes. Add beef to sauce. Top with chives, and serve.