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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
José Pizarro

José Pizarro’s recipe for Russian salad

José Pizarro’s Russian salad.
Now better known as a classic Spanish dish: José Pizarro’s Russian salad. Photograph: Ola O Smit/The Guardian. Food stylist: Sam Dixon, Prop stylist: Anna Wilkins.

Despite its name, and its origins in Moscow circa 1860, Russian salad is now better known as a classic Spanish dish. In its early incarnations, it would have been a very refined affair, featuring ingredients such as caviar, crayfish or grouse, but it has changed dramatically over the years to use simpler and easier-to-find ingredients. A good mayo is the key, and making your own will take it to a new level (though mayo from a jar will also work). Although I’m giving you the classic recipe, it’s adaptable to whatever you have to hand, and a great way to use up leftover potatoes, celeriac, roast chicken, ham or prawns.

Russian salad

Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4-6

To make your own mayonnaise, blend a large free-range egg yolk with two teaspoons of white-wine vinegar and some seasoning. Very slowly whisk in 120-150ml of olive oil, until the mix emulsifies into a thick mayo., then beat in a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and check the seasoning. Any mayo you don’t use up in the salad will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for three to four days.

2 medium eggs
300g red-skinned potatoes
(slightly waxy ones, ideally), peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
Salt and black pepper
1 medium carrot
, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
80g frozen peas
5 cornichons, drained and chopped
8 green olives, pitted and chopped
1 tbsp capers, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 x 220g jar good-quality sustainable tuna in olive oil
2½ tbsp
good mayonnaise (see recipe introduction)
4 slices sourdough
1 roast red pepper, thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

Put the eggs in a pan of cold water, bring to a boil and cook for six minutes. Drain, put in a bowl, add cold water to cover and put to one side.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a pan of cold, salted water, bring to a boil, simmer for four minutes, then drain well. At the same time, bring a pan of unsalted water to a boil, drop in the carrot and cook for two to three minutes. Add the peas for the last minute, then drain and put in a bowl with the potatoes.

Peel the eggs, then chop one and slice the other. Add the cornichons, olives and capers to the potato bowl and toss to combine. Roughly drain the tuna, keeping some of the oil in the tin, then break up the fish with a fork and fold it into the potato bowl with the mayo and chopped egg. Check the seasoning.

Toast the bread, then cut it into small pieces. Spoon the salad into a serving bowl, top with the sliced roast pepper and sliced egg, season with plenty of black pepper and a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, then serve with the toasts.

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