Russian Salad (Ensalada Rusa)
Authentic Russian salad recipe in less than 30 minutes. A fulfilling and customizable salad. This is a quick recipe that you can easily adapt to feed a crowd.
This salad is also called Oliver salad or Olyvieh. The creator was a chef named Lucien Oliver —hence the name — and it quickly spread through eastern Europe. It became popular quickly because it uses simple ingredients that most of the population could afford.
Centuries later the recipe arrived to South American where we embrace it as our own. You can easily find Russian salad throughout the entire region without a problem.
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Variations of the classic Oliver salad?
This recipe has changed a lot according to the region. For example, in Peru, Venezuela, and Colombia we use beetroot. In Spain, they prefer hard-boiled eggs and black olives. In the Caribbean, green peas.
In Venezuela, we even have a variant that is made with shredded chicken called ensalada de gallina.
As you may see, a Russian Salad is a blank canvas that you can customize to fit your likings.
Most common additions:
- Green peas
- Black olives
- Hard-boiled eggs
But, for today’s recipe, I will stick to the basics to show you a non-fuss Russian salad that you will love.
Pro-tip to boil potatoes
If you ever boiled potatoes you know that it’s tricky to get the perfect cooking point where the potatoes are not super soggy but still tender. It’s way harder when the potatoes are cut into small cubes because the line between perfect shape cubes and a mashed disaster is super close.
My best trick is to add a tbsp of white vinegar to the water. It won’t leave any scent. But it will help to keep the shapes for longer.
This trick can also be used to poach eggs.
It’s a lifesaver because it delays a lot the disintegration process.
Another important thing is that the carrot and the potatoes have slightly different cooking times.
Even when I use a single pot with boiling water for the three veggies —potatoes, carrots, and green peas —, I add them at different times so they all are perfectly cooked at the end.
First, I add the carrot cubes. I let it boil for 5 minutes. Then, the potatoes. I let them boil for 10 minutes. Finally, the frozen green peas. Just 5 minutes.
So in total, the recipe takes 20 minutes and each veggie have a proper cooking time:
- Carrots: 20 minutes
- Potatoes: 15 minutes
- Frozen green peas: 5 minutes.
If you use canned green peas just boil for 1 minute.
What to serve with ensalada rusa?
As a side dish, it’s extremely versatile and the sky’s the limit:
But, if you want to eat it alone a loaf of rustic bread is all you need.
- 2 big potatoes
- 1 big carrot
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- ½ cup of frozen green peas
- 5 tbsp mayo
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and cut the potatoes and the carrot into cubes.
In a big pot, boil enough water to cover the vegetables. About 1.5 lt. Add the white vinegar and enough salt.
Toss the carrot into the water and boil for 5 minutes. Then, add the potatoes and let them boil for 10 minutes. Finally, toss the frozen green peas for 5 minutes. Strain the water.
In a bowl add the veggies and let them chill. Incorporate the hard-boiled eggs peeled and chopped roughly.
Season the salad with mayo and mustard. Mix well. Add a pinch of pepper and more salt if needed.