Russian Salad (Insalata Russa)

Russian Salad
Russian Salad is a very well known dish in Italy and was invented in the 1860's by Lucien Olivier, a Moscow restaurateur of French origin.  Over time it has undergone many changes - it was known as Genovese Salad, and was considered one of the main dishes of Ligurian aristocratic gala dinners. And Italians have changed the original recipe a bit by adding mortadella instead of kielbasa if meat is desired. I love it in summer time since it can be prepared in advance and served as an antipasto or a side dish. And Russian Salad can keep in the fridge up to three days (but it never lasts that long with my family!). I also enjoy it with traditional boiled meat (bollito misto) in the winter and I can't imagine New Year's Eve without Russian Salad.
Russian Salad (Insalata Russa)
  • 11 oz. potatoes
  • 7 oz. carrots
  • 8 oz. peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 oz. pickles (gherkins and onions but you can use your favorite vegetables)
  • salt
  • For the mayonnaise:
  • 1 fresh egg
  • 1 tsp. anchovy paste
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup. corn or vegetable oil
  1. Clean and peel potatoes and carrots.
  2. Boil them separately in salted water. The cooking time depends on the size of the vegetables. Just try with a fork: they don't have to be cooked too much.
  3. Boil the peas in salted water 3-4 minutes until done.
  4. Cool the vegetables enough to handle. Cut potatoes and carrots into small cubes and place in large bowl. Add peas.
  5. Russian Salad
  6. Cut pickles into small pieces and add them to the vegetables.
  7. Make the mayonnaise: put one egg, 1 tsp. anchovy paste (only for the mayonnaise for the Russian salad!), ½ tsp. lemon juice, a small pinch salt in a bowl or small dish and mix while pouring 1 cup oil. Add a little more oil if you want to increase quantity. Adjust salt. I like to use an immersion blender but a regular blender works well, too.
  8. Russian Salad
  9. Add the mayonnaise to the vegetables and combine. Cover and refrigerate a few hours before eating. You can decorate with red pickled peppers or small anchovies.



Russian Salad (Insalata Russa) — 13 Comments

  1. Delicious! I love that you make your own mayonnaise (with anchovies too! Yum…) This dish will be perfect to serve on our warm summer days. I think my kids will love it as well 🙂

    • Even my husband remembers this one. A favorite of his American Mother as well. Looks lovely and a great idea for a Summer picnic. My salads never last past the meal either. lol
      Have a lovely weekend.
      barbara (So happy to have my laptop back)!!

      • Thanks Barbara! In summer evening, when it’s hot and you don’t want to cook it is perfect to open the fridge and find the Russian salad ready and fresh!

  2. This is a blast from the past! It was so popular in Italy when I was a little girl in the 80s!

  3. What a perfectly elegant presentation. This one really is a classic, isn’t it? Thanks for the historical enlightenment; culinary backstory is always appreciated!

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