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Elisabeth Luard's Ensaladilla Rusa

Elisabeth Luard's Ensaladilla Rusa

posted on 27 November 2017 by admin

"Russian salad - diced cooked fresh vegetables sauced with mayonnaise - is the standby of every tapa bar throughout Spain and is a particular favourite of mine, particularly if the mayonesa is home-made. Which is not unusual since it’s one of the basic sauces of the Spanish kitchen claimed place-of-origin, Mahon, Menorca - though a good olive oil mayonnaise from a jar is perfectly acceptable. If you prepare your own, a one-yolker is the minimum workable (the more yolks, the less likely to split). If the yolk does separate from the oil (it happens), work one corner ferociously till the emulsion reforms. If this doesn’t do the trick, start again by adding the split sauce to a new yolk.  Store any extra in a screw-top jar in the fridge for no more than 3 days, and don't fork it up again even if it looks like separating."

(Serves 4-6 as a tapa-plate for sharing)

The vegetables (about 600g in total, vary the choice as you please)

1-2 carrots, scraped and diced

1 small turnip, peeled and dice

1 medium potato, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons chopped green beans

2 tablespoons shelled peas

1 tablespoon orange or agro-dolce wine vinegar

2 tablespoons mild golden olive oil


The mayonesa

1 large egg yolk

Approx. 150ml mild olive oil (as above)

1-2 tablespoons wine vinegar (as above)


To finish

Ready-cooked red pepper strips (tinned and drained, or grilled and skinned

Pitted black olives

Cos lettuce leaves for scooping


Cook the diced vegetables in boiling salted water, adding them in the order listed. As soon as they’re perfectly soft, drain, splash through cold water and drain again. Dress while hot with a tablespoon of oil and a sprinkle of vinegar and salt. Allow to cool while you prepare the mayo.

         Make sure the main ingredients are at room temperature before you begin.  Work the yolk on a plate or shallow bowl with a fork to blend, then slowly add the oil drop by drop, forking steadily to form an emulsion, then increase the rate of oil-flow till the sauce is thick and shiny. If the egg yolk is a little small (hard to tell from the size of the shell), it won’t accept all the oil so stop as soon as begins to look dull. Sharpen with vinegar and season with a pinch of salt.

         Turn the cooled vegetables in enough mayonesa to coat and finish with a pretty lattice of red pepper ribbons and maybe a few black olives. Serve with cos lettuce leaves for scooping.