Cookbook Review: Polish'd: Modern Vegetarian Cooking from Global Poland by Michal Korkosz

My Quick Take: There was so much satisfaction to be had in the kitchen cooking up a vegetarian Polish-inspired menu that spoke to my family’s Polish heritage.

The Experiment (Oct 24, 2023)  

Thanks to NetGalley and The Experiment for a digital copy for review! 


My daughter Sophia is the family member who has prompted me to explore Polish recipes, as she takes the time to learn about her heritage. My spouse is half-Polish, but neither of them connected much to their ancestry. Now that’s changing, and it’s been a wonderful thing in our household. I like to eat vegetarian, though I do eat fish, so Michal Korkosz’s newest cookbook Polish’d was a perfect fit.

He’s got a fantastic, award-winning website (Rozkoszny-"delightful" in Polish) and is a food columnist and recipe developer living in Warsaw. His first book, Fresh From Poland, dished up vegetarian interpretations of traditional Polish food, but in Polish'd he explores the more multicultural Polish traditions of his native Warsaw, “a cultural melting pot where you can taste flavours from all over.” I’ve always associated Polish cooking with tending towards meat heavy, but apparently, Warsaw is a vegetarian paradise. Who knew?

He writes, “On one hand, these recipes are a modern, vegetarian take on long-established Polish recipes, but on the other, they’re infused with flavors and ingredients brought to Poland by immigration and globalization throughout history. Some people ma call this fusion, but I’d rather think of it as the natural integration of global flavors and ingredients into Polish cuisine that has come to pass over time.” 

Korkosz has divided his book into chapters based on cooking technique, from Raw to Panfried and he even has a Fermented & Preserved section! I didn’t try those ones yet, but I will. I love to ferment things. There’s a handy section on the modern Polish pantry too.

The Recipes:

Crunchy Broccoli and Hazelnuts with Grapes, Apples, and Spicy Honey Dressing

In his introduction to this recipe, Korkosz says, “I was nineteen years old when I learned that broccoli can be eaten raw. It’s the total opposite of the watery, overcooked, faded green broccoli of the school cafeteria.” Personally, I grew up with raw broccoli on veggie trays, and dipped the spears liberally in ranch dressing. Mmmm, good times. I love the vegetable every which way. This was a new broccoli adventure, though. Broccoli with grapes and apples? Not so sure. But the combo of all of these amazing foods was fantastic! The Spicy Honey Dressing brought it all together. So many tastes at once! And a new way for me to serve broccoli. Everyone loved it.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Miso Bagna Cauda

Like Korkosz’s experience with soggy broccoli, soggy Brussels sprouts were my childhood Christmas dinner delight. I didn’t hate them, but they’re not going to win any awards (sorry, Mom!). The wonders of beautifully cooked, crispy, well-seasoned Brussels sprouts are a revelation. I’ve had some pretty great takes on the veg in restaurants, and my own roasted sprouts are a winter dinner staple at our house, but Korkosz claims his recipe serves up “the world’s best Brussels sprouts.” The main oomph factor here is bagna cauda, an Italian dipping sauce that is eaten akin to a fondue, with veg for dipping. It features anchovies, so miso subs in here. I’d never heard of it! I prepared the sprouts, added toasted panko, some sunflower seeds and this magnificent miso bagna cauda and tossed it. It was amazing! Salty, sharp and very umami. I’m going to have to side with Korkosz here, I think these may just be the best Brussels sprouts around, and I made them in my own kitchen, not a high end restaurant!

Pearl Barley Salad with Pickled Red Onion, Fennel, and Szafir Cheese

I find barley so satisfying. It’s something about the bite, the mouthfeel and how hearty a grain it seems. I don’t eat it nearly enough, so when I saw this salad I was drawn to it. Quick-pickled red onion was a new skill for me, which proved simple and added a great crunch. He calls for slicing a lemon and stir-frying it with fennel. I wasn’t clear: should I leave the peel on the lemon? A quick peek at the picture of the finished dish advised me that I should. It seemed risky, but came out mild and lemony without bitterness. Finally, I substituted feta cheese for the Szafir because I couldn’t find it. This salad was easy, delicious and filling. It would make a great meal on its own (or add some beans!) or a perfect potluck dish.

Salted Szarlotka (Apple Pie) with No-Churn Brown Butter Ice Cream

This apple pie ended up being a conundrum. There were a lot of steps to make it: the crust, the apples, the ice cream (which had a few steps in itself). I loved learning the technique of the no-churn ice cream, and while it wasn’t quite like regular ice cream, it was pretty close. I'd never browned butter, and this was used in two parts of the pie, so check off another new technique. When I put it together and served the dessert, it all tasted good but the pie didn't hold together well, and the top of the crust seemed more of a crumble. The bottom of the crust was a bit soggy. I loved the ice cream flavour, but Alan wasn’t a fan. Finally, the sweet ice cream with the sweet pie together was probably a bit too rich. But every bit tasted amazing! I had my aunt and cousin over for dinner and they liked it, but we realized the shortcomings here, though we all downed a good portion. Slowly over the days I ate all the ice cream and the pie and savoured every last bite of the not-perfect combination. Also, the whole process of browning the butter, cooking the salted brown butter crust and apples produced a heavenly smell. Korkosz loves the smell of this dessert so much that he went to a Warsaw perfumery and had these scents made into his own signature perfume!


What a modern Polish vegetarian cooking adventure! I had so much fun with this cookbook, and there are a lot of recipes that I have yet to try, like the fermented ones. I'll conclude by saying again just how amazingly yummy those crispy Brussels sprouts were. I see those in my future quite often. Polish’d has added to my family’s Polish-heritage journey, which is a wonderful gift.
“At the end of the day, cooking is an invitation to fantasize–to push boundaries–and is only limited by your imagination…In this cookbook, I celebrate my Polishness, and my goal is to honor my heritage in the best way I know how–through food.”