I am invited for supper at my cousin's house tomorrow evening. Tonight I prepared a dish to take with me... "ensalada rusa". Although the name means "Russian salad", it is Spain's version of potato salad, and it is a popular "tapa". I always thought that it got its name because it is made with potatoes (a staple in Russia). However I did some research and discovered that the original salad, (called Olivier Salad after the chef who invented it) was the signature dish of an elegant restaurant in czarist Moscow. It contained many expensive ingredients such as caviar, grouse, veal tongue, smoked duck and crayfish. The recipe was a heavily guarded secret until one of Chef Olivier's assistants stole it. The recipe was published and spread throughout the world, usually in a much simplified form.
The "ensalada rusa" of Spain has no exotic ingredients. (Thank goodness. I have no desire to eat caviar, even if it's mixed in a salad!) A few years ago I found a recipe on the internet, and it tastes like what I have eaten in Spain. Actually it's better than in some Spanish restaurants, since some places overdo the mayonnaise.
Here's the recipe I use...
2 lbs. potatoes
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
3 five oz. cans of tuna packed in spring water
1/4 cup chopped hard boiled eggs
1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise
1/2 tsp white pepper
salt to taste
Boil the potatoes with the skins on in salted water until fully cooked. Cool to room temperature, remove the skins.
Blanch the carrots, peas and red pepper until al dente. Refrigerate immediately.
Drain the tuna. Place on a clean towel and wring out excess water.
Place the potatoes in a large bowl and mash with a fork until all large chunks are gone. Add the tuna, vegetables, eggs, mayonnaise and white pepper. Gently combine the ingredients with a large spoon. Salt to taste. Refrigerate.
Garnish with cherry tomatoes.
And here is my finished product...