Ensalada Rusa (“Russian” Potato Salad) is one of our most popular recipes and a favorite in all our parties and holiday meals.
Ensalada Rusa (Russian Salad) in a Dominican blog? Why yes! Practically every country on earth has a version of potato salad, and many also call theirs "Russian salad".
What is it?
This salad whose main ingredients are potatoes, eggs, and mayonnaise is a pillar of Dominican food, an indispensable dish in our Christmas dinner, and very popular throughout the Hispanic world. This potato salad is known in practically all countries of the western world, each country with different variations.
Where does it originate?
In a shocking non-twist, Russian salad did come from Russia after all!
The original salad contained several other ingredients, like beef tongue, cold cuts, and lettuce, although this probably changed with the seasons, or availability of ingredients.
Who invented it?
The original "Russian salad" recipe was created by the chef Lucien Olivier who worked at the prestigious Hermitage Restaurant in Moscow in the 19th century. The original Olivier salad (as it is still known in many countries) did not contain mayonnaise, but a signature dressing that is now lost in time, which almost certainly contained mustard and oil from Provence.
In some places (like France and Russia) this is still called Salade Olivier, and in Spain, the Spanish potato salad is known as Ensaladilla or Ensaladilla Rusa, and is also served as tapas. In much of Latin America, it is simply Ensalada Rusa. Each country, region, or home has its own variations. Another name by which Ensalada Rusa is known in our country is Ensalada Mixta (Mixed Salad).
In the Dominican Republic, depending on the occasion and preferences, you can make a potato salad with apples, or a pink potato salad by adding beets. The first one is the most common for Christmas. Like all our dishes, there may be as many variations as there are homes in the country.
In our country, it has become what is probably the most popular salad and is always present on all types of occasions, from informal family gatherings to the elaborate Christmas dinner table. From lunch to dinner.
About our recipe
I have found countless variations of this dish, depending on the cook's taste. The strangest ones have been an Ensalada Rusa salad with raisins, one to which the cook added sugar, and even a spicy one. In general, the recipes we present here are closer to the most common way to make it, and they are, of course, how I learned to make it from my mother.
How do you make your Dominican potato salad?
Ensalada Rusa Recipe (“Russian” Potato Salad)
- 1 lb [0.45 kg] of potatoes (see notes)
- 2 large carrots
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons of salt or more, to taste (divided)
- 1 medium beetroot (optional)
- 1 apple (any variety)
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- ½ cup of sweet corn (optional)
- ½ cup of blanched or canned green peas (optional)
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- Boiling potatoes: Place the potatoes, carrots, and eggs in a pot add enough water to cover (and extra). Add a teaspoon of salt. After 12 minutes have passed, remove the eggs from the water and continue boiling the carrots and potatoes until they are cooked through.
- Boiling beetroot: Boil the beetroot in a different pot until it's cooked through (do not use beetroot if you are going to use apple).
- Peeling and dicing ingredients: Once cooled to room temperature, peel potatoes, carrots, eggs, apple (or beetroot), and dice into small cubes.
- Mincing onion: Mince the onion, add vinegar and let it rest until it's time to mix with the rest of the ingredients (at least 10 minutes). Discard the vinegar.
- Mixing: Mix potatoes, carrots, eggs, apple (or beetroot), onion. corn and peas. Add mayonnaise and mix. Season with salt to taste.
- Serving: You can either serve chilled or at room temperature, depending on your preferences.