The Best Russian Salad (Ensaladilla Rusa, Estrella De Plata)

“I'm not sure how Russian potato salad (called Olivier in its native country) became a world staple, showing up as a part of a Korean appetizer spread, finding its way into the Turkish meze assortment, and becoming one of the most beloved tapas of Spain. Spain's tastiest ensaladilla, hands down, is served at Estrella de Plata, a stylish tapas bar in Barceloneta, Barcelona's old fisherman's quarters. This is Chef Didac Lopez' recipe. In addition to the cooked potatoes, carrots and peas found in the Russian version, his features tuna and roasted red peppers, plus a touch of green olives and anchovies in the mayonnaise dressing. All the ingredients are parially mashed, so the texture is halfway between a salad and a spread (at Estrella de Plata its served with thin bread rusks). Adapted from the cookbook, "The New Spanish Table".”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Make the salad: Place the potatoes, carrot and turnip in a medium-size saucepan. Add water to cover by 2 inches, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until all the vegetables feel tender when pierced with a skewer, about 15 minutes for the carrot and turnip, a bit longer for the potatoes.
  2. As the vegetables become soft, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl. Take care not to over cook.
  3. Bring the water back to a boil, add the green beans, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes (they should be neither al dente or overcooked). Drain the beans, blot them dry with paper towels and set aside. Let the vegetables cool to room temperature.
  4. Peel the potatoes, carrot and turnip, then cut them into small dice and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  5. Cut the green beans into a 3/4-inch lengths and add them to the bowl with the diced vegetables. Then add the peas, tuna, roasted peppers and the 2 chopped eggs. Using a sturdy fork, mash the salad until it has a chunky-creamy consistency.
  6. Make the dressing: Place the olives, anchovies, 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise, and 3 tablespoons water in a blender and process until a medium-fine paste forms. Stir the olive mixture into the the salad.
  7. Place the remaining maynnaise and the lemon juice into a small bowl and whisk to mix, then stir into the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you'd like the salad to be moister, add more mayo.
  8. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the salad stand for about 2 hours. (You can make the salad up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate it and let it come to room temperature before serving). To serve, spoon the salad on a shallow serving dish and garnish with the grated egg.

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