Ensaladilla Rusa – Russian Salad Tapa
Ensaladilla rusa is one of the most ubiquitous and classic Spanish tapas. Wherever you go in Spain, from a classy city wine bar to a traditional village local, you’ll find a tray of beautifully decorated salad ready to be served. As the name suggests, this dish hails from Russia but the Spanish have made it their own with sweet roasted red peppers and green olives. Apparently, the original recipe for had over 100 ingredients, including bear tongue, but I’m happy to stick with the combination of soft crumbly potato, firm carrots, crisp green beans and juicy peas.
You can make ensaladilla rusa with shop-bought mayonnaise but it can never really beat homemade. If you have a handheld blender, it takes seconds to whip up a batch of mayonnaise so why not give it a go? The pepper, olive and egg yolk decorations are key to making this dish shine on the table, so take the time to arrange them carefully. Serve cold with nice crusty bread!
Ingredients (serves 4 as a generous tapa)
1 red pepper
80g fine green beans
80g frozen peas
100g tinned tuna
10 green olives
For the mayonnaise
175ml sunflower oil
2 tsp of lemon juice
pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius. Place your pepper on a baking tray and roast for around 15 minutes until its skin starts to char. Remove from the oven and place in a small sandwich bag. Tie the top and leave to cool. Once it is cool, it should be easy to remove the seeds and skin. Meanwhile, pthe eggs in a small saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Cook for around 12 minutes and then put aside.
- Peel the potatoes and carrots. Top and tail the green beans. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling water on a medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the carrots. Cook for 10 minutes and then add the green beans. Cook for a further five minutes and then add the peas. When the peas have defrosted, drain the vegetables and leave to cool.
- When the vegetables have cooled, cut them all into small pieces – around 1cm dice. Mix in a bowl and add the tuna and the finely chopped white of the hard-boiled eggs.
- Prepare your mayonnaise by blending all ingredients with a hand held blender for a few seconds. Add the mayonnaise to the bowl and mix well.
- Prepare your toppings – slice your olives, crumble the yolks of the hard-boiled eggs and thinly slice the red pepper. Decorate individual portions of ensaladilla rusa with the toppings or lay it out on a platter to share.