Ensalada Rusa

Ensalada Rusa

ENSALADA RUSA (Russian potato salad), is an internationally popular potato salad recipe that’s  mayonnaise based and features cubed carrots, peas, boiled eggs, tuna, onions and black olives. 

Serve this versatile salad as a side dish with other Spanish tapas, Artisan bread, or as part of a large Charcuterie board.

Also known as Olivier salad, for its eponymous creator, Ensaladilla Rusa holds season tickets on dinner tables from Peru to Madrid, and Mongolia to Tehran. Based on the choice of ingredients, it can be simple or fancy and makes a wonderful side at any holiday or potluck. 

I was first introduced to this potato salad dish while living in Spain (here’s my collection of Spanish recipes inspired from my time there). It’s universally popular in Spain, Latin America, and other countries, with each country and even region having its own variant. Its intriguing history actually begins in imperial Russia, where Lucien Olivier, chef at the prestigious Hermitage Restaurant in Moscow, introduced it in the 1860s. 

Olivier Salad was an immediate hit and the carefully guarded recipe was alleged to contain all manner of exotic ingredients. Nonetheless, the recipe was reverse engineered by competitors and different versions were released to the public by the culinary publications of the day. Muscovites began to prepare it at home and it was soon a mainstay for Novy God (Russian New Year). From there it rode the waves of history and emigration, surging across the Soviet Union into Central Asia and the Middle East, inundating Europe and finally across the Atlantic, to wash up on the shores of the Americas.

Ingredients for Ensalada Rusa:

Ensalada Rusa

Base veg: carrots and gold potatoes (¼” cubed), chopped fresh green beans, peas (fresh or canned).

The protein: 4 hard boiled eggs, 1 can white Tuna (and/or ham, bologna, or chicken).

For flavor: chopped red, white or green onion, black or green olives.

The dressing: white vinegar, mayo, sour cream, salt.

The garnish: parsley, dill or cilantro finely chopped.

Other popular additions: Beets, corn, cooked crab (the original calls for crayfish tails), capers, (traditionalists should reach for a grouse!), tart apples, dill pickles, cucumber.

How to make Ensalada Rusa:

  1. Boil the eggs. Turn burner off after water reaches boiling. Allow eggs to rest in hot water for at least 10 minutes then drain and cool.
  2. Peel and dice carrots and potatoes into pea-size piece bites (¼”) and chop beans to match. 
  3. Boil the potatoes and carrots with a sprinkle of salt. When water starts to boil, wait 6 minutes then add chopped green beans. Wait 2 more minutes then check if potatoes and carrots are tender. If not, wait a little longer but do not overcook as the veg must remain firm! Drain and set aside to cool completely.
  4. Peel and chop hard boiled eggs and onions into pea-size bites.
  5. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Be sure the veg is fully cooled and break up the tuna with a fork before adding. Garnish with fresh parsley.
  6. Taste and adjust dressing (mayo, sour cream, salt or pepper) if needed.

Ensalada Rusa

Pro Tips:

  • Cook veggies and eggs ahead of time so they have time to cool completely before assembling the salad. 
  • Add mayonnaise to the salad just before serving.
  • To speed things up, use a vegetable chopper—easy, fast and yields even sized cubes.

Make ahead and storage instructions:

Prepare and chop all ingredients. Make the dressing and store separately. Store everything in the refrigerator for a few days. Add the dressing just before serving. Leftover, fully prepared Ensalada Rusa will keep in the fridge for a few days, but again it tastes best if dressed just prior to serving. Ensalada Rusa does not freeze well.

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Ensalada Rusa

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Ensalada Rusa

Ensalada Rusa (Russian potato salad), is an internationally popular potato salad recipe that’s  mayonnaise based and features cubed carrots, peas, boiled eggs, tuna, onions and black olives. 
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Russian, Spanish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 262kcal
Author Lauren Allen

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3 medium size gold potatoes
  • ¼ pound fresh green beans
  • 1 cup peas , fresh or canned
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 can white Tuna (or 1 cup chopped ham, bologna, or chicken)
  • ½ of an Onion (red or white) or use , red, white or use green onion
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • salt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup chopped Green olives , or black
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley , cilantro or dill

Instructions

  • Peel and dice the carrots and potatoes into very small, pea-size pieces. Chop the beans as well.
  • Add the potatoes and carrot to a pot and cover with water. Add a sprinkle of salt and bring to a boil. When water starts to boil, cook for about 6 minutes then add chopped green beans. Wait 2 more minutes then check if potatoes and carrots are tender. If not, wait a little longer but do not overcook as the veggies should remain slightly firm! Drain and set aside to cool completely.
  • Chop the hard boiled eggs and onion into pea-size bites as well and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled potatoes, carrots, beans, and remaining ingredients. Break the tuna up into pieces with a fork before adding.  Garnish with fresh parsley.
  • Taste and add more seasoning (mayo, sour cream, salt or pepper) if needed.

Notes

Pro Tips:
  • Cook veggies and eggs ahead of time so they have time to cool completely before assembling the salad. 
  • Add mayonnaise to the salad just before serving.
  • To speed things up, use a vegetable chopper—easy, fast and yields even sized cubes.

Make ahead and storage instructions: Prepare and chop all ingredients. Make the dressing and store separately. Store everything in the refrigerator for a few days. Add the dressing just before serving. Leftover, fully prepared Ensalada Rusa will keep in the fridge for a few days, but again it tastes best if dressed just prior to serving. Ensalada Rusa does not freeze well.

Nutrition

Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 491mg | Potassium: 668mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3999IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg
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