Ensalada Rusa


Serves: 4

Preparation time:  60 minutes

It’s one of the most popular dishes in a Spanish tapas bar, Russian Potato Salad. During the Franco dictatorship, the word Russia was “prohibido” hence the dish was called – in public only – Ensalada Nacional. As a tapas dish, canned tuna or small shrimps are added as well as sliced hard boiled eggs as garnish.

I love Ensalada Rusa. In Spain, a proverb describes well the many variations of the salad “Cada maestrillo tienne su librillo”, which means each person has its way of doing things.

As its name implies, Ensalada Rusa has its roots in Russia. It is also known as Olivier Salad, named after the Belgian chef Lucien Olivier, who reportedly invented this classy version of a potato salad in Moscow.


  • 1 lb (450 g) firm potatoes, like Yukon Gold (US) and Maris Piper (UK)
  • 9 oz (125 g) green beans, cut into 1 inch (2 cm) pieces or lima beans
  • 9 oz (125 g) green peas
  • 9 oz (125 g) carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 1 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (225 g) good quality mayonnaise
  • ½ cup (120 ml) sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar or red vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced for decoration (optional)
  • 1 can of high-quality tuna in chunks (optional)


Cook potatoes in water with a pinch of salt until just tender – don’t overcook or they’ll fall apart. Let them cool completely, remove their skin and cut into cubes.

Cook carrots, beans and peas until tender but still with a bite. Run them under cold water and set them on a  paper towel to drain.

In a serving bowl mix the mayonnaise with sour cream, salt and pepper and the vinegar. Add potato cubes, carrots, beans, peas, scallions, and capers. Stir gently so you don’t mash up the potatoes.

Decorate with hard-boiled egg slices and red pepper strips (optional).

Tuna is a typical addition to the Ensalada Rusa, if served as a tapa or on its own. As a side dish, you would not want to add the tuna.

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