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)
- For the mayonnaise:
- 1 fresh egg
- 1 tsp. anchovy paste
- ½ tsp. lemon juice
- 1 cup. corn or vegetable oil
- Clean and peel potatoes and carrots.
- 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.
- Boil the peas in salted water 3-4 minutes until done.
- Cool the vegetables enough to handle. Cut potatoes and carrots into small cubes and place in large bowl. Add peas.
- Cut pickles into small pieces and add them to the vegetables.
- 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.
- 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.